§ 48. Mr. Parker
asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider some revision of the Derating Act to meet the grievance of a poor county, such as Essex, where there has been great industrial development since 1929 and where the resulting large increase in population has necessitated considerable expansion of social services?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Bernays)
The 509 hon. Member is, no doubt, aware that the block grant, payable under the Act mentioned, is already distributed largely on the basis of population and rateable value, the distribution being revised at five yearly intervals. The basis of distribution was reviewed by Parliament, in accordance with the requirements of that Act, in 1937.
§ Mr. Thorne
Is not the Parliamentary Secretary aware that grave injustice has been inflicted on all local authorities in connection with the Derating Act, and that so far as West Ham is concerned it costs about twopence in the £?
§ Mr. Bernays
I cannot answer for West Ham, but I would remind the hon. Member that local authorities have been assisted to a very large degree by the removal of the responsibility for the assistance of the able-bodied unemployed.