HC Deb 21 June 1978 vol 952 cc457-8
15. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what extent the difference between the rate increase in the Lothian Region of 16.8 per cent. and the decrease in Strathclyde of 0.1 per cent. is attributable to the varying levels of rate support grant awarded to each authority.

Mr. Millan

Rate poundages are determined by each local authority in the light of its expenditure proposals as well as grant entitlement and other factors. The effects of grant variations on rate levels cannot be isolated.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the level of rate support grant for the Lothian Regional Council has decreased by at least 1 per cent. this year while that for the Strathclyde Regional Council has increased by at least 1 per cent.? Is he aware that if this trend continues it will be virtually impossible for the Lothian Regional Council to build the outer city bypass with maximum speed and efficiency? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that this project is supported by every political party on the regional council?

Mr. Millan

I do not think that I can accept the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's question. He is referring to the results of revaluation. It is well known that Lothian's increase in rateable value was greater than the Scottish average, whereas in Strathclyde it was less than the Scottish average. That inevitably works its way through the resources element of rate support grant. The basis of these calculations is agreed with COSLA.