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Local Government

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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Flood Relief Funds (Government Contributions)

30.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT an up-to-date list of contributions which Her Majesty's Government have made to local relief funds for the alleviation of distress resulting from flood disasters in 1960; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs
(Mr. Henry Brooke)

I will, as requested, circulate the list in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Exchequer payments on account amounting to over £690,000 have been made to thirty-one local flood relief funds. Total voluntary contributions to all local flood funds exceed £210,000.

Of the £1,500,000 voted in 1960–61, £652,442 18s. 8d. was issued as grant-in-aid up to 31st March. The balance was surrendered.

Exchequer payments continue to be made as required. The money will be accounted for on the main Vote of my Department, where it will be shown as grant-in-aid. Parliament will be asked to sanction this expenditure by means of a supplementary Estimate for 1961–62 to be presented in due course. Pending the voting of supply, issues are being made from money advanced from the Civil Contingencies Fund.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that very full Answer, but is he absolutely convinced that all claims by private persons are being, or will be, met happily and satisfactorily? Can he say what the total liability on the Government in this respect will be?

I cannot yet judge what the total liability will be. I have every reason to believe that the flood relief funds are dealing absolutely fairly with all the claims made, but until the claims have all been assessed and settled, no one could put a total to them.

Following is the list of net Exchequer advances to local flood funds:

£s.d.
Bath Flood Relief Fund60,00000
Bathavon Flood Relief Fund2,15000
Beaminster R.D. Flood Relief Fund3,65000
Bridgwater R.D. Flood Relief Fund1,725510
Bridport B. and R.D. Flood Relief Fund2,30000
Brotherton (Osgoldcross R.D.) Flood Relief Fund4700
Calne Flood Relief Fund10000
Cottam (East Retford R.D.) Flood Relief Fund15,778710
Denby Parish Flood Relief Fund711140
Devon and Exeter Flood Relief Fund140,00000
Dulverton R.D. Flood Relief Fund3,75000
Eastleigh Flood Relief Fund35000
Frome U.D. Flood Relief Fund14420
Heanor U.D. Flood Relief Fund8951110
Hereford City and County Flood Relief Fund28,20000
Horncastle Flood Relief Fund35,60000
Keynsham Flood Relief Fund1,02000
Lewes Flood Relief Fund10,70000
Maidstone Flood Relief Fund50000
Isle of Wight Flood Relief Fund10,61800
Norton-Radstock U.D. Flood Relief Fund2,25000
Repton R.D. Flood Relief Fund1,40000
Romsey B. Flood Relief Fund18800
S.E. Derbyshire Flood Relief Fund6,072168
Shrewsbury Flood Relief Fund6,00000
Taunton B. and R.D. Flood Relief Fund5,00000
Wales and Monmouthshire Flood Relief Fund335,00000
Warmley R.D. Flood Relief Fund1,40000
Wenlock B. Flood Relief Fund40000
Williton R.D. Flood Relief Fund16,00000
Wincanton R.D. Flood Relief Fund114143
£692,065125

Gas Liquor (River Foliation)

31.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will make a further statement on research into the question of gas liquor and its effect on river pollution.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Local Government
(Sir Keith Joseph)

I can add little to the information sent to the hon. Lady last October. I understand the pilot scheme at Southall is showing encouraging results, but that it is too soon to reach any firm conclusions after only a few months' trial.

But does not the Parliamentary Secretary realise how very important this is to every local authority? Is he aware that Stoke faces a dreadful situation, and that unless something is done about this gas liquor a whole sewerage system may be put out of operation, when a local authority such as ours will be faced with a colossal bill? Can he not do something more urgent about it?

The hon. Lady should be encouraged by the preliminary results, but those doing the research cannot command results; they can only go on with research.

Holiday Camp Project (Stansgate)

32.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he is aware of the projected holiday camp development at Stansgate, Essex, and of the threat that it represents to the amenities of the Blackwater estuary; and if he will take steps to protect this hitherto relatively unspoiled coast from such development.

My right hon. Friend understands that the local planning authority has such a proposal under consideration. He has no doubt that it will have due regard to its effect upon amenity, and since it would involve a substantial departure from the development plan, that it would not grant permission without consulting him.

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether, when that consultation takes place, the Minister will bear in mind that besides this project there are a number of applications for caravan sites in the neighbourhood, and that there is a serious risk that this unspoiled stretch of river quite near London will be turned into just a swarming shanty-town unless he does something about it?

I must be careful, since this may come to my right hon. Friend for decision, but my right hon. Friend would not be likely to give consent for this without a public inquiry.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the concern there is about the amenities of the countryside in other parts of Essex as well? Is he in touch with the Civic Trust in such matters? It seems that the Trust's advice should be sought about a great deal of the development at present taking place in the countryside.

My right hon. Friend's status has to be preserved because of his appeal jurisdiction and, of course, such amenity interests can be represented at inquiries.

As this area is in my constituency, can my hon. Friend look very carefully at the whole planning position? We have the Central Electricity Authority taking one line, and barring planning in one area, and now we have this other problem in the coastal areas.