asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will carry out a survey of all local authorities to establish the changes in support for: home helps, nursery education, capitation, revenue support, mentally handicapped, the elderly, concessionary fares, adaptations under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, community facilities, industrial promotion and repairs and maintenance to local authority property.
I have no plans to extend the surveys already undertaken by my Department to collect information on local authority expenditure on these services.
If a genuine survey were conducted, would it not reveal that support for home helps, nursery education, capitation, revenue support, mentally handicapped—[HoN. members: "Reading."] Yes, it is a long list—the elderly, concessionary fares, adaptations for the chronically sick and disabled, community facilities, industrial promotion budgets, repairs and maintenance to local authority properties — for every-thing affecting local authority programmes — has been cut to shreds? Why should Labour-controlled authorities, which were elected with a mandate to retain services, feel compelled to implement cuts imposed on them by the Government which offend the spirit of their manifestos?
The hon. Gentleman claims that there have been cuts in social provision in his area. By 1983·84, there were 10 per cent. more home helps than there were four years previously and 3 per cent. more nursery pupils, over the same period. Expenditure on concessionary fares increased by 90 per cent. over the same period. In the area covered by his district council, concessionary fares have increased by 89 per cent. Nursery school expenditure in Cumbria increased by 38 per cent. and home help expenditure increased by 69 per cent. I hope that he will personally thank the Prime Minister for the increase in social provision in his area.