§ 20. Mr. Greenway
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of total local authority spending planned for in 1983–84.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
English local authorities' budgeted total revenue expenditure for 1983–84 is £20,905 million.
§ Mr. Greenway
Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is important for industry that rates be kept to a proper level? Does he further agree with the Labour-controlled borough of Tower Hamlets that the newly established consortium of five Labour-controlled London authorities, which is operated with ratepayers' money, is illegal? Will he do something about it?
§ Mr. Jenkin
I am aware that the London borough of Tower Hamlets has obtained legal opinion to that effect. With the help of my right hon. and learned Friends the Law Officers, I am considering the point carefully.
§ Mr. Madden
Will the Secretary of State show the understanding that he seems to have for the problems of Buckinghamshire to cities such as Bradford, which face considerable difficulties in responding to Government programmes, such as the youth training scheme, as they incur additional expenditure? When he returns to his office, will he inquire about a report that was sent to his Department nine months ago by Bradford metropolitan district council, which makes radical proposals for dealing with inner city decline and combating unemployment? Will he undertake to respond quickly to that report and to meet representatives of Bradford metropolitan district council?
§ Mr. Jenkin
I pay tribute to the way in which Bradford metropolitan district council has made strenuous efforts to meet the Government's targets and to comply with the Government's policy on public expenditure. The councillors deserve every credit for what they are doing. I shall consider how swiftly we can respond 10 the approaches mentioned by the hon. Gentleman.