HC Deb 21 May 1986 vol 98 cc342-3
2. Mr. Rogers

asked the Secretary of State for the Environmnt when he last met representatives of the voluntary organisations in Greater London and the metropolitan counties to discuss funding arrangements under the Local Government Act 1985.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Sir George Young)

My right hon. Friend last met representatives of voluntary organisations to discuss the effects of abolition on 24 March. There are no plans at present for a further meeting.

Mr. Rogers

When will the money which the GLC allocated for forward funding be returned to the boroughs as a result of that being declared unlawful by the House of Lords?

Sir George Young

That is a matter for the London Residuary Body, not the Government.

Mr. Simon Hughes

Why, in the borough of Southwark, although there was one urban programme grant to the Silwood estate, for which we are grateful, was the total urban programme cut by half this year from about £200,000 to about £100,000? Although boroughs such as mine in south London are clearly deprived, why do they not qualify for any of the more important statuses under the urban programme as programme partnership authorities? Is it not about time that we looked again at the urban programme and the funding of urban areas, which clearly does not always meet the needs of the most deprived parts of our inner cities?

Sir George Young

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will recognise that one of the inner city initiatives, under my right hon. and learned Friend the Paymaster General, was set up in the London borough of Southwark with extra resources of about £1 million behind it. We shall consider Southwark's urban programme. I do not think that it has applied under the Inner Urban Areas Act 1978 for assistance to industry, to which it is entitled, and that is something that I shall also be pursuing with the borough.

Dr. Cunningham

Will the Under-Secretary clarify the Government's intentions with respect to the Secretary of State's letter of 20 March 1986 about the proposed rate-capping of the arrangements to fund voluntary organisations in London? Would it not be scandalous, and further undermine the Government's commitments in the House of Lords and elsewhere to the voluntary organisations, if the already inadequate level of funding under the Richmond scheme were to be held by that draconian use of the Local Government Act 1985? In that connection, will the Government also clarify their intentions on funding for voluntary organisations in the metropolitan areas?

Sir George Young

There seems to have been some genuine misunderstanding about this. Earlier this year the London boroughs decided to have a budget of £27 million. We have made it clear that we have no plans to reduce that figure, and the Government have an open mind on next year's budget.

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