§ Mr. Stephen Ross
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what public statements he has made about the relative levels of increase in the rate poundage in (a) the Isle of Wight and (b) the 19 Conservative-controlled county councils in England: and if, in the light of the information given to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight on 22 March, Official Report, column 638–9, he has any further statement to make on this matter.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
In his speech to the Conservative local government conference on 9 March my right hon. Friend contrasted the average increase of 31 per cent. in the precepts of Conservative controlled non-metropolitan County Councils in the last four years with the comparable average increase of 62 per cent. in the precepts of Labour controlled non-metropolitan councils. He then observed that though the alliance controls few counties, the increase in the precept of the Isle of Wight over the same period was nearly 40 per cent; and that this was far higher than the equivalent 28 per cent. increase in neighbouring Hampshire. My right hon. Friend had already made this latter comparison in a speech to Hampshire Conservative councillors and prospective councillors on 16 February.