§ Mr. David Porter
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will clarify the new arrangements for local authorities' funding of non-emergency sea defence work; if he will make a statement about sea defences; and if he will make it his policy to treat sea defence as a national responsibility, rather than a coastal authority matter.
§ Mr. Gummer
[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1987]: I am currently considering as the hon. Member is aware, the allocation between local authorities of the global capital sum available for this work and the Department will inform local authorities of the decision as soon as possible.
Proposals for coastal works are a long-standing local authority responsibility in view of their considerable local importance. When views were last canvassed on this—in 1985 — the strongly-held view of the authorities concerned remained that this responsibility should be left in local hands. The Government do, of course, make a significant contribution to the funding of capital work through a very high rate of grant, most authorities qualifying for the maximum rate of 70 per cent.