asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the rate support grant settlement for 1976–77.
§ Mr. Crosland
Yes. The statutory meeting on the settlement took place today with the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance where my proposals were discussed. Briefly, my proposals are that the rate support grant should be at a rate of 65½ per cent, on an accepted relevant expenditure of £10,461 million at November 1975 prices. This expenditure represents a standstill on the present estimate of current expenditure by authorities in 1975–76. The domestic rate relief would continue to be paid at 18½ p for England and 36p for Wales. The total amount of grant for local authorities payable in respect of the year 1976–77 under any increase orders will be subject to a cash limit. This limit has been fixed at £480 million. It is a ceiling, and local authorities will need to claim for expenditure caused by pay and price increases during the year under the normal machinery for increase orders.
I propose to make an increase order in respect of pay and price increases of £1,739 million which have occurred since the 1975–76 settlement was made. The total increase in grant will be £1,156 million.
There will be a full opportunity for the House to debate the settlement. I shall be laying the appropriate orders for approval within the next few days.