asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average amount of rates payable in large cities in 1951 and 1961; to what extent expenditure by local authorities has increased during the past three years as a result of the increased Bank Rate; and, in view of the burden this places upon local authorities, if he will take steps to reduce the Bank Rate and at the same time examine the need for reorganising the financing of municipalities.
The average rate per head paid in county boroughs in England and Wales was £7 7s. in 1951 and £16 4s. in 1961, due mainly to greatly increased expenditure on education. The hon. Member will be aware that Bank Rate was reduced again last week. The effect of this and earlier changes in Bank Rate on local authority expenditure cannot be quantified but I do not believe that it necessitates a reorganisation of municipal financing.