HL Deb 16 December 1983 vol 446 cc397-8

11.31 a.m.

Lord Banks

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will undertake that all costs incurred in the policing of Greenham Common will be borne by the Government.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Elton)

No, my Lords. The Government already contribute about 66 per cent. of the costs of policing in the Thames Valley area, including Greenham Common, through police grant and rate support grant. But we recognise the exceptional additional costs being borne by the Thames Valley police authority and are considering whether there is some means by which we can make as additional contribution.

Lord Banks

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that slightly encouraging reply. Is he aware that Buckinghamshire County Council have been requested to pay £½million to the Thames Valley police towards Greenham Common peace camp policing, although of course Greenham Common is not in Buckinghamshire? Is he further aware that, if they comply with that, it is understood that Buckinghamshire County Council will be penalised for overspending their budget and will have to forfeit another £1.1 million? What action will the Government take to ensure that such an absurd and unjust situation will not arise?

Lord Elton

My Lords, as regards the first of the noble Lord's supplementaries, I must point out that the Government are aware of the implications of this for the constituent bodies of the Thames Valley Police Authority. As to the noble Lord's second supplementary, all I can say is that it is open to local authorities to approach my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment about this matter under Section 8(4) of the Local Government Finance Act 1982.