§ Mr. Hardy
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the total costs incurred by commerce and industry as a result of the reduction in the share of local authority expenditure met from central funds since 1979, including his estimate of such costs for the current financial year.
§ Mr. Chope
The level of Exchequer grant is determined each year in relation to estimated local authority relevant expenditure and it is not possible to know what local authorities would have spent if a different proportion of relevant expenditure were met by grant. However if grant were paid at 60 per cent., the percentage at settlement in England for 1979–80, of the estimated relevant expenditure set out in each of the rate support grant settlements from 1979–80 to 1986–87, then the total available would he about £10½ billion more than shown in those reports; this would have been financed from central taxation. Assuming this amount was in fact simply met by rates about 40 per cent. would have come from industrial and commercial ratepayers.