HC Deb 17 March 1982 vol 20 cc337-8
1. Mr. Steen

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much Government money has been made available to the six partnership committees and 15 programme authorities for each of the last two years.

The Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services (Mr. Tom King)

The total resources available under the urban programme for the relevant authorities were some £133 million in 1980–81 and some £146 million in 1981–82. I will, with permission, circulate the figures for individual partnerships and programme authorities in the Official Report. Allocations for 1982–83 will total £179 million.

Mr. Steen

I recognise the value of these considerable sums of public money in rebuilding the principal urban areas. Is my right hon. Friend aware that Liverpool city council is planning to pull down Clayton Square in the inner neighbourhood, which has 30 shops, banks and even a Catholic shrine? Will he tell the leader of the Liberal city council that, if the council continues to have buildings demolished, the Government will stop the grant of public money?

Mr. King

My hon. Friend will understand that I cannot comment on the details of what he has described. On the general policy of seeking, where possible, to avoid demolition and encourage renovation, there has been considerable progress. All who are working in inner city areas are well aware of the need to conserve the best and renovate wherever possible.

Mr. Joseph Dean

Is the Minister aware that the part of his answer dealing with the 15 programme authorities relates to the majority of authorities which, as I understand it, received substantially increased allocations in real terms? However, the city of Leeds has had its allocation reduced by 6 per cent. in real terms. Will he explain why the city of Leeds has been discriminated against? Is he prepared to meet a delegation of Members of Parliament representing that city and members of the city council to explain and discuss this matter?

Mr. King

I cannot do that without notice. There are 15 programme authorities. I must be sure of the reasons for the decision in this case by my noble Friend the Undersecretary of State for the Environment. Ministers are always willing to receive deputations from Members of Parliament if they wish to raise matters. However, I shall write to the hon. Gentleman when I have made inquiries.

Mr. Alton

Will the Minister bear in mind that, before any decision could be taken by the Liberal-controlled Liverpool city council in the partnership area, it would require the support of either the Conservative or Labour Party on that council? Therefore, to hold one man responsible is absurd. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that it would be far more beneficial to the partnership area if the £500, 000 being cut from the Merseyside police budget were to be restored this year rather than frittered away on things such as gardening centres in Toxteth?

Mr. King

The hon. Gentleman's first point, of course, is correct. I take note of the second point, but it goes rather wider than the original question.

Mr. Marlow

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, despite the vast amount of Government money spent on inner city areas, there will not be a solution to inner city problems until we have sorted out the problems of crime, particularly violent crime? While we are considering spending more money, will he also get on to the Police Federation, which is campaigning for the reintroduction of capital punishment, so that we may have more effective means of sorting out the problems in inner city areas?

Mr. King

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is involved in that matter. I admire my hon. Friend's ingenuity, but that is not a question directly for me to answer.

Following is the information:

Urban Programme Allocations
£ million cash

Total Allocations


Original Allocations

Birmingham 17.30 16.93
Hackney/Islington 15.35 15.00
Lambeth 9.03 9.17
Liverpool 17.61 17.61
Newcastle/Gateshead 12.91 13.95
Manchester/Salford 17.48 16.78
Programme Authorities
Bolton 2.11 2.56
Bradford 3.33 3.12
Hammersmith and Fulham 3.33 4.27
Hull 2.62 3.40
Leeds 3.56 3.75
Leicester 3.83 416
Middlesbrough 2.71 3.43
Nottingham 3.41 3.75
Oldham 2.43 2.85
Sheffield 3.44 3.49
Sunderland 2.60 2.68
South Tyneside 2.51 2.99
North Tyneside 2.25 2.34
Wirral 2.67 2.79
Wolverhampton 2.93 3.22
* In addition there is £8 million available for further allocations to those authorities that can justify them.

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