§ Mr. Guy Barnett (Greenwich)
I beg to ask leave to present a petition on behalf of over 30,000 people of the London borough of Greenwich, in which they pray thatyour honourable House repeals the Rates Act 1984.Under that Act, the Greenwich borough council is subject to rate capping on the ground that it is unduly extravagant and that the ratepayers need protection from unnecessary spending. However, the petitioners, most of whom are ratepayers, plead that that is not true since the members of the council are directly elected by the people of Greenwich, and therefore are accountable to them for the decisions that they make. Moreover, they contend that the Rates Act is damaging to the people and the services of their borough, many of which are run to meet the needs of the elderly, the disabled, the sick and the poor of the borough. The petitioners believe that such vulnerable people will suffer as a consequence of rate capping and that 1,000 employees of the council will lose their employment as a result of it.
Above all, the petitioners say that the borough has lost tens of millions of pounds of rate support grant and ask for that money to be restored to them. The petition states:Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your honourable House repeals the Rates Act 1984 and restores the tens of millions of pounds taken from our Rate Support Grant. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.
I should like very strongly to associate myself with the petition.
§ To lie upon the Table.