§ 13. Mr. Hooley
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage increase or decrease in real terms—net of inflation—occurred in central Government rate support and other grants for all purposes to local government in England year on year in 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82 and 1982–83.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
On the basis of the deflators normally used, central Government grants and subsidies to local authorities in England fell by about ½ per cent. in real terms between 1979–80 and 1980–81, and by about 9½ per cent. between 1980–81 and 1981–82. Comparisons with 1982–83 cannot be made until outturn information for 1982–83 pay and price changes is available.
§ Mr. Hooley
Do not those figures show that the Government have no intention of providing the resources that local electors are entitled to expect, to maintain and improve standards of health, housing, education and other civic amenities?
§ Mr. Shaw
I understand the hon. Gentleman's question, but it is a fact that local authorities must share in the overall necessity to reduce public expenditure. It is also a fact that the Government have introduced a number of other grants to assist local authorities, such as the urban development grant, which in many cases have made a substantial contribution.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
Why have the Government reduced the northern region's percentage share of total national allocation of HIP from 5.7 per cent. in 1981–82 to 5.4 per cent. in 1982–83, while, at the same time, they have increased the share for the southern regions? Why are we in the northern region being penalised? Do the Government believe in a divided society, north against south?
§ Mr. Shaw
I reject completely the hon. Gentleman's final assertion. The object is to ensure that inflation is reduced and that under public expenditure policies every region will benefit. I shall ask my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction to write to the hon. Gentleman about the northern region's HIP allocation.