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Rate Support Grant (Dorset)

Volume 884: debated on Wednesday 15 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he can now say what rate support grant for 1975 will be available to the Dorset County Council.

Complete details of the factors to be used in the grant calculations are not yet available. However, an estimate based on provisional information indicates that Dorset County Council's 1975–76 entitlement to the needs element of the rate support grant will be in the region of £24·2 million. In addition the county precept attracts indirectly some benefit from the resources element.

To help both domestic and commercial ratepayers, will the Minister take further action to reduce local authority expenditure, in particular by transferring to central Government the full cost of teachers' salaries? Will he also call a halt to unnecessary expenditure on road development, much of which is causing widespread anxiety and upheaval in my constituency?

The first part of the hon. Member's question relates to a subject which is being considered by the Layfield Committee, but of course that will not I can only emphasise again the provisions affect next year's rate. As for expenditure, of the circular issued on 23rd December, to which my right hon. Friend has referred today, which urges on all local authorities the essential need to contain their expenditure this year to inescapable commitments.

Was the Secretary of State for Education and Science speaking on behalf of the whole Government when he said that it would be a retrograde step to transfer teachers' salaries in the way my hon. Friend suggested? If so, will the Minister take it from us that we strongly disagree with his right hon. Friend?

As I said, this is being considered by the Layfield Committee. Certainly it would not be considered for this year.