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Supplementary Grant

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether, in his grant allocation for transport purposes, he will take special account of those counties which contain towns which have committed programmes of town development.

One of the main purposes of the transport supplementary grant system is to take account of special local needs. I have examined counties' transport policies and programme submissions with this in mind in preparing for decisions on the grant for 1978–79.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that where a town has a committed housing programme designed to help the whole region and in line with the Government's own requirements, it deserves special consideration? Will he confirm that in the grant to Staffordshire there is special provision for Tamworth's committed programme of expansion?

I know that my hon. Friend has been very assiduous in drawing attention to the problems of Tamworth. I hope that the county council will continue to recognise Tamworth as a special case in making provision and application for TSG.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the amount of money being made available is wholly inadequate for most counties to provide even essential local roads? Will he look closely at this matter, particularly at improvements which would give assistance to through traffic, in view of the appalling delay in decisions on many of our proposed motorways?

Of course there is less money available than we should like, but the counties get substantial assistance not only through TSG but through the rate support grant. They have to accept their own responsibilities for carrying some part of the total cost on the rates. They have to make a choice, and it is a difficult choice for almost everyone.