HC Deb 06 February 1968 vol 758 cc68-9W
66. Mr. George Rogers

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he has received the report of Professor Illersic on rate equalisation; and what action he proposes in view of the necessity for any changes to take place by April, 1968.

Mr. Greenwood

Yes. I have considered the proposals in the report, which were commended to me by the London Boroughs Association, and I have today written to the Association, the Common Council of the City of London and the Greater London Council giving my decision.

The scheme has many valuable features, but had it been possible it would have been preferable had there been more time available for further study between the presentation of the report and the date by which, for reasons of the local authorities' financial timetable, a decision had to be given. As however a substantial majority of the local authorities concerned are in favour of the scheme and as a decision is urgently needed to enable the Greater London Council's precepts for 1968?–69 to be fixed, I have decided that it would not be right for me to impede its introduction. I propose therefore to implement the proposals so that the first instalment of the equalisation scheme and the associated transfer to the Greater London Council of a larger proportion of the needs element of the rate support grant will come into effect for 1968–69.

The report has given rise to some misgivings. The first instalment of the Ilersic proposals would not, however, have the severe results which the full proposals would have on the rates in certain boroughs. I shall ask the Association. the Common Council of the City of London and the Greater London Council to co-operate over the coming months in considering whether any modifications should be made or some alternative scheme might be preferable in later years.