HC Deb 15 December 1989 vol 163 cc884-5W
Mr. Gould

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment in relation to his forthcoming campaign on community charge benefit and transitional relief, what considerations led him to conclude that it is necessary to have a publicity proposal going beyond what could be achieved by way of parliamentary announcement and ministerial speech; what is the precise goal and precise target audience of his campaign; what considerations led him to choose the balance of publicity between various media in order to achieve this goal and target; what is that balance; how much is planned to be spent on the campaign; and how the results of the campaign are to be measured, distinguishing between publicity effects and non-publicity effects.

Mr. Chris Patten

[holding answer 13 December 1989]: Levels of awareness of the community charge benefit system, especially among groups most likely to include potential claimants, indicated that a wider dissemination of information was required than would have been achieved by a parliamentary announcement and speech.

The campaign will be spread between television, the press and radio, with a preponderance in the first two media, to reach the main target audiences effectively. Research is planned both before and after the campaign to measure its effectiveness and impact. The cost has to remain commercial in confidence for the time being, but we will provide costs in due course. For other parts of the question, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 7 December, Official Report, volume 163, column 322.

Mr. Michael Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce final details of the community charge transitional relief scheme.

Mr. Chris Patten

[pursuant to his reply, 22 November 1989, c. 4]: I have decided, in the light of representations from the individual local authorities, that the profile of revenue support grant (RSG) payments next year should be advanced. Authorities will receive 25 per cent. of their entitlement to RSG in the first two months of the financial year. This is equivalent to an additional £400 million in April and £390 million in May compared with what they would have received if the profile of RSG grant had reflected a pattern of uniform income and expenditure throughout the year. I hope that local authorities will endeavour to issue community charge bills next April which reflect entitlement to both community charge benefit and to transitional relief. However, if authorities experience any delay in issuing community charge bills as a consequence of the community charge transitional relief scheme, these advance payments of about £800 million will be sufficient to ensure that their cash flow is not disadvantaged by the introduction of the scheme.

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