HC Deb 24 March 1983 vol 39 cc473-4W
Mr. Churchill

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has concluded his consideration of the representations made to him by the metropolitan borough of Trafford about the treatment of expenditure on non-advanced further education in the rate support grant settlement for 1983–84.

Mr. King

I have received representations from a number of authorities, including Trafford, that losses of grant arising from the new definition of the numbers of students undertaking non-advanced further education, used for the first time in the 1983–84 settlement, should be included within the safety net on grant changes.

I have consulted the local authority associations on this issue. There was support for the change, provided it could be done without losses to the existing grant expectations of other authorities. My Department has now assessed the grant returns from 405 authorities and it is clear that the total claim for grant in 1983–84 will be some £57 million less than the total provision in the cash limit.

This therefore makes it possible to agree to the proposal for the inclusion of the non-advance further education losses in the safety net for 1983–84. The authorities concerned are being advised of this today. The changes will be incorporated at the supplementary report stage.

The effect of shortfall in grant applications is that instead of the clawback of grant that had been a feature of all recent grant settlements there will be in this year an increase in the grant entitlement for all grant-receiving authorities and they are being advised accordingly. This is a result of the effective operation of the grant system.