§ Mr. Riddick
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list each criterion used to assess the standard spending assessment for Kirklees council for the year 1990–91; how the appropriate level of Government grant is then calculated for each individual criterion; and what is the total amount of Government grant actually awarded to Kirklees council for each individual criterion.
§ Mr. Chope
The standard spending assessment (SSA) for Kirklees is calculated according to the formulae set out in the Revenue Support Grant Distribution Report (England) approved by this House on 18 January. Revenue support grant is distributed so that all authorities, including Kirklees, could set a community charge of £278 (before the safety net and special grants) in 1990–91 if they and the authorities' precepting on the collection fund in their area spent at the level of their standard spending assessments. In addition to revenue support grant for 1990–91 Kirklees will receive £37 million or £132 per adult from the combined effect of the safety net and the special grant for low rateable value areas.
§ Mr. Gareth Wardell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether there are any community charge havens around the coast apart from Caldey Island.
§ Mr. Chope
No. The Caldey Island Bill, about to come before Parliament, would make residents of Caldey Island subject to the community charge.
§ Mr. David Martin
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total amount of financial support towards revenue expenditure to be provided by central Government for the first year of the new local government finance system in England.
§ Mr. David Hunt
Central Government are providing over £15 billion of financial support towards revenue expenditure for the first year of the new system.
In 1990–91 aggregate external finance of £23.1 billion will be provided to local government to finance local authority services in England. The redistributed proceeds of the new business rate pool will be £10.43 billion, while central Government are providing approximately £12.7 billion in financial support, made up of £9.4 billion of revenue support grant and £3.2 billion in specific grants.
Central Government are also providing around £2 billion for community charge benefit in England, which is in addition to the £0.4 billion cost (estimated on an England only basis) of the once-for-all uprating of income support in April 1989 to provide help towards the remaining portion of the charge. Local authorities are to be reimbursed in full for the cost of transitional relief, which in England in 1990–91 will be £350 million (part of the £810 million the Government will provide in the first three years of the new system).
Help will be provided towards councils' administrative costs for the transitional relief scheme amounting in 1990–91 to £21 million.
§ Mr. David Martin
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet made regulations relating to the use of new economic development power for local authorities in section 33 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.563W
§ Mr. David Hunt
I recognise the important role that local authorities have to play in this area. Local authorities have been invaluable in supporting start-up businesses where venture capital from the private sector could be less readily obtainable.
I know of many examples of existing good practice in economic development by local authorities, in many cases working with central Government or European Commission programmes. Regulations will ensure that local authorities' proposals are well-targeted and used in an effective and sensible way.
I have now laid before Parliament the Local Government (Promotion of Economic Development) Regulations 1990. The power for local authorities to take steps for the promotion of economic development came into force on 1 April 1990. Where local authorities choose to use their existing powers to promote economic development the regulations will not apply until 1 July 1990. Transitional provisions are also included for commitments entered into before 1 April 1990.
Section 33 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 provides a general power for local authorities to take steps for promoting the economic development of their area. It specifies a wide range of activities that a local authority can undertake for that purpose, but without prejudice to the generality of the power. The power also will enable local authorities to make grants to voluntary bodies to assist in the task of promoting economic development. However, there are certain activities that the Government consider are not appropriate for local authorities:
Local authorities will not, subject to certain important exceptions, themselves be able to undertake banking, investment business, insurance, estate agency, auditing, conveyancing, valuations, manufacturing or trading (regulation 5). They will, however, be able to assist others to do so.
There is no geographical restriction other than that on the power to give grants, loans and financial guarantees to undertakings conducted with a view to a profit, but only where that assistance exceeds £10,000 per annum to any one business (regulation 7). Where it does exceed that level the power to give such assistance is limited to those authorities in parts of the country which already receive some form of central Government priority, or where they form part of a travel-to-work-area with above average unemployment.
The regulations contain no restrictions on the giving of grants or subsidies to trainees or to the providers of training. However, with effect from 1 April 1991, the provision of training or education services by local authorities that are not education authorities, other than for their own members or employees, must be in line with a broad programme of such services agreed with the education authorities (regulation 8(2)). This will prevent conflict or unnecessary duplication of effort between authorities.
Direct wage subsidies to commercial undertakings are not permitted (regulation 6(2)) but there are specific exemptions. These cover grants towards the cost of employing persons who have been unemployed immediately before becoming employed by the grant recipient and grants towards the cost of employing trainees and those with particular skills. The regulations do not restrict such grants given as part of a central Government or European Commission scheme.564W
The regulations do not, otherwise, prevent the doing of anything connected with the provision of training facilities, the construction or maintenance of buildings or the management of any land in which the authority has an interest, the promotion of tourism or the provision of information to the public (regulation 5(2)).
Separate regulations will be made covering the procedures for the notification to the European Commission of local authority aid to industry under articles 92–94 of the treaty of Rome. Those regulations will not come into force before 1 July 1990.
§ Mr. David Porter
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a further statement on community charge liability for seafarers and offshore workers.
§ Mr. Matthew Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the total budgeted local government expenditure in England and Wales for 1990–91; and how much of this will be raised by(a) the community charge, (b) the uniform business rate and (c) Government grant;
(2) what was the total budgeted local government expenditure in 1989–90 for England and Wales; and how much of this was raised by (a) domestic rates, (b) non-domestic rates and (c) rate support grant.
§ Mr. Chope
[holding answer 2 April 1990]: Total budgeted local government expenditure in 1989–90 for England is £29,564 million. Domestic rate income, non-domestic rate income, and rate support grant are £9,679 million, £9,680 million, and £9,577 million, respectively. Total budgeted expenditure for all English authorities in 1990–91 is not yet available. Information relating to Welsh local authorities is a matter for the Secretary of State for Wales.