§ Mr. LANSBURY
asked the Minister of Health if he will furnish a return based on the rate figures for the year 1928–29, or the latest figures available, showing the estimated effect of the Local Government Bill, as proposed to be amended by the Government, on the rates of the boroughs of England and Wales during the first five years and at the end of 15 years?
Tables showing the estimated effect on the rates of local authorities in the year 1926–27 of the financial proposals in the Local Government Bill, based on such data as are available, have already been published for the greater part of England and Wales in Command Papers 3,134 and 3,227, and a further Command Paper will shortly be issued giving similar estimates for certain other areas. The figures shown in these Command Papers are not affected by the proposed Government Amendments to the Bill, but, in the case of county districts, the supplementary grants will, if those Amendments are accepted, be fixed for five years, instead of for one year only, before the annual diminution of one-fifteenth takes effect. Although the broad effect of the scheme in future years is clear from the examples in the 357W Command Papers, it is obvious that any attempt to forecast at the present time the poundage of the rates in a particular area 15 years hence could only be misleading.
Neither the amount of the rate-borne expenditure of the standard year (1928–29) nor the values in force on the appointed day (1st October, 1929) as apportioned under the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, are ascertainable. Moreover, any such forecast would necessarily be based on such assumptions as that not only the circumstances of that area had remained quite unchanged during all that period, but that equally the circumstances of every other area had remained unchanged—assumptions which would certainly be falsified in practice. In these circumstances, it is not proposed to issue such a, return as is suggested by the hon. Member.