HC Deb 25 March 1919 vol 114 cc240-1W

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether local bodies are allowed to pay for war memorials out of public rates under any circumstances; and, if so, under what circumstances?


The Local Government Board are aware that a number of local authorities contemplate expenditure out of the rates in providing war memorials or contributing towards meeting their cost. Where this cannot be done under existing powers, the Board would be willing in cases where the accounts of the local authority are subject to Government audit to sanction, under the Local Authorities (Expenses) Act, 1887, reasonable expenditure for purposes of a useful character. The proposals for local war memorials vary in different districts. The provision of certain kinds of memorials,e.g., in the form of recreation grounds, or buildings to serve as libraries or hospitals, is ordinarily within the statutory powers of a local authority, who would in such cases, no doubt, proceed in the usual manner; but in other cases (e.g., where the provision of social clubs or village halls or institutions is suggested), sanction by the Board under the Act of 1887 would generally be required to authorise the expenditure. In many cases a public appeal for voluntary subscriptions from the inhabitants is contemplated by the local authority before they have recourse to the rates; and the Board's general view would be that such appeals should be encouraged. My right hon. Friend is afraid he could not state in advance the precise limitations in expenditure or rating which ought to be observed by a local authority, but he thinks it would be desirable that the general opinion of the inhabitants of a district should be ascertained before the local authority commit themselves to any proposal involving large expenditure.