§ Dr. Cunningham
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply of 25 January, Official Report, c. 616 to the hon. Member for Copeland, he will describe the evidence which shows that the proportion of the electorate actually paying rates may be lower than 35 per cent. in some areas, and the evidence which shows that local elections are more heavily influenced by national rather than local issues.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
As the rates White Paper explained—paragraph 2.2—the average figure of 35 per cent. relates to the number of households paying full domestic rates as a proportion of the electorate. It is based on estimates for England and Wales of (i) the number of registered electors, (ii) the total number of households and (iii) the number of households receiving assistance with their rates. The relationship between these factors is far from uniform across the country.
The evidence that local elections are more heavily influenced by national rather than local issues has been widely accepted for some years. This was for example the advice given to the Layfield committee in 1975—local government finance report of the committee of inquiry under the chairmanship of Frank Layfield Esq. QC, appendix 6, pages 98–101.