§ Major GLYN
asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware of the 663W increase in rates throughout Scotland, and if he proposes to inaugurate an Inquiry into the whole matter without delay, so that local authorities and other bodies may be able to estimate the probable cost to the community as a whole of the Government housing scheme; whether any alteration of procedure is intended in regard to the assistance to local rates for education and roads by Grants from the Imperial Exchequer; and whether, pending the establishment of such a Commission, he will provide opportunity for local authorities to draw up a statement emphasising their point of view and in what manner the burden on the ratepayers may be reduced?
§ Mr. MUNRO
I am aware that local rates have increased in Scotland, as in other parts of the country, owing to the serious increases in the cost of commodities and services arising out of the War, which necessarily affect local authorities as well as others. The scope of an Inquiry such as the hon. Member suggests with regard to housing would apparently extend beyond Scotland, and it is not, clear that it would produce results of value at the present time. The subject is one that is receiving the continuous attention of the Government. Assistance to local rates for education is provided from the Education (Scotland) Fund, and the amount and mode of assistance that will be given in the present year is, as I have already stated, under consideration. The subject of financial assistance to the cost of roads falls within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport. I need scarcely add that I shall be happy to receive any statements drawn up by local authorities on these matters.