§ 5. Mr. Sainsbury
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the number of non-metropolitan district councils that are intending to raise a lower rate for 1983–84 than 1982–83.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
My right hon. Friend will be aware that that answer will be satisfactory to the ratepayers of those councils. Is he aware that amongst that number is the Conservative-controlled borough of Hove, which is proposing to levy a lower rate next year for the sixth time in eight years, which demonstrates its skill in carrying out its responsibilities? Does not the borough of Hove demonstrate that there are far too many Socialist-controlled local authorities which disregard their responsibility to deliver their services and utilise their assets as effectively as possible and therefore impose unreasonable and unnecessary burdens on industry and households?
§ Mr. Ashton
How many of those low-rate councils have provided free bus passes and cheap television licences for pensioners, have not cut their services to the disabled and have not made their work forces redundant in the past two or three years to secure reduced rates? Why does the right hon. Gentleman not give a true comparison on those lines?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Can my right hon. Friend give any message to Lancaster city council, which is in a fortunate position similar to that of Hove, about its derelict land grant application, bearing in mind that it was told in February that some £2 million would be available if it was spent during the current financial year, which is clearly impossible? Is there any hope that such allocations can be carried forward into the next financial year?
§ Mr. Kaufman
Will the right hon. Gentleman join me in congratulating the Labour-controlled council of Darlington, which has been able to cut 5p off its domestic rate because of the £640,000 profit made by its extremely efficient direct labour organisation?