§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if any meetings with local authority associations have been arranged for future dates to discuss with him the operation of his rate-capping policy; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if he will list all the representations he has received from local authority associations, individual local authorities or groups of local authorities requesting a meeting with him to discuss the operation of his rate-capping policy; what response he has made in each case; and if he will make a statement;
(3) if he will list the criteria he uses in deciding whether a group of local authorities which has requested a meeting with him to discuss the operation of his rate-capping policy is representative; and if he will make a statement;
(4) if he will make it his policy, in arranging meetings with local authorities to discuss the operation of his rate-capping policy, to see groups of authorities together where common problems have been identified.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
Following the meeting which I held with leaders of some rate-capped and certain other local authorities on 4 February, I have been sent copies of resolutions passed by a number of those authorities, and 155W have received other correspondence from them, including requests for further joint negotiations. I have noted the contents of the resolutions.
For the reasons set out in my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Watson) on 14 March at column 219, I have no intention of negotiating with this group of authorities, which is unrepresentative of local government as a whole.
I have made it clear that I am not prepared to reconsider the rate limits or the precept limits or the rate support grant settlement for 1985–86.
There is now no excuse for any rating authority to delay setting a lawful rate.