40. Mr. W. JOSEPH STEWART
asked the Minister of Health whether it is the intention of the Government at an early date to go into the question of the revision of the block-grant system in order to bring relief to Durham County which. because of its low rateable value, is handicapped in comparison with other parts of the country, so that the gains under the principle of allocation are more than swallowed up by the increased cost of public assistance?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Mr. Shakespeare)
In accordance with the provisions of Section 110 of the Local Government Act, 1929, the basis of distribution of the block grant payable under that Act is now being investigated in consultation with the associations of local authorities, with a view to determining what changes, if any, should be made with effect from 1st April, 1937. The working of the formula factor of rateable value will be included in this investigation.
Are the Government prepared to give special attention to this area, owing to the fact that it is heavily rated and contains a large number of unemployed, and has to embark upon heavy expenditure yearly for public assistance purposes?
§ Mr. SHAKESPEARE
That has been partly dealt with in the recent grant, which comes out very favourably as regards Durham County.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
When does the hon. Gentleman expect that a conclusion will be reached in this important matter?
§ Mr. H. G. WILLIAMS
Is the hon. Gentleman considering also the very extravagant administration of the Durham County Council?