§ Mr. William Shelton
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement regarding the withholding from Lambeth council of the £600,000 of inner city partnership funds and the effect this may have had on the completion of the Brixton recreation centre, in view of the fact that another £8 million is apparently required to complete it.
§ Mr. King
The Brixton recreation centre has been the responsibility of Lambeth borough council since it was started in 1974. It was entirely financed 467W by it until 1978–79, when the council's locally determined sector allocation was reduced and the previous Government agreed to make urban programme resources available to meet part of the cost of the centre. I agreed to a further contribution from the urban programme in 1979–80, but the project has always been Lambeth's own project. Lambeth council has budgeted for a level of current expenditure in 1980–81 almost 9½ per cent. higher in real terms than its 1978–79 outturn, when the Government have asked local authorities as a whole to make a 2 per cent reduction. I could not encourage that excessively high level by giving any further urban programme grant towards the cost of the centre, which is likely still to cost a further £8 million. I therefore decided not to give the £600,000 grant in 1980–81 for which Lambeth council had asked. It is entirely for Lambeth to decide what arrangements to make now. The contribution from the urban programme would obviously have been a very small part of the estimated cost of completing the centre.