HC Deb 18 November 1976 vol 919 cc1554-5
13. Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what basis the level of grant aid for the fire services is determined; and what flexibility this allows to meet emergencies.

Dr. Summerskill

Estimated expenditure on the fire service is among the estimates of relevant local authority expenditure taken into account by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment in determining the amount of the rate support grant.

Mr. Wigley

Is the Minister aware that in my county of Gwynedd alone, £100,000 extra was spent by the fire service this year due to the effect of the drought on its work? Will the hon. Lady give an absolute commitment that in the rate support grant allocation next year extra funds will be available to make up for those expenses?

Dr. Summerskill

I am aware that in many parts of the country there has been greatly increased expenditure due to the drought. The possibility of increasing next year's grant to take account of heavy fire service expenditure this year has been considered in the context of the need to avoid increases in local authority expenditure next year. As the House knows, on Monday 22nd November my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will announce the Government's decision on the amount of rate support grant for 1977–78.

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