§ 13. Mr. Lofthouse
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met representatives of the local authority associations.
§ Mr. Lofthouse
When the Minister next meets the local authority associations will he tell them that if the Government's new clause 13 of the Housing and Building Control Bill is accepted by the House this afternoon, it will mean that many younger members of families will be able to purchase local authority bungalows rented by their aged parents or grandparents at a 60 per cent. discount? Will he tell also them that within a short period, following the death of the aged person, they will be able to sell that bungalow at market value and cash in a 60 per cent. profit?
§ Mr. Tracey
When my hon. Friend next meets the members of the local authority associations will he convey to them the amazement of the Government that the one or two sensible Opposition Members and members of the local authority associations have not realised what an important component of the economy local government over-expenditure is? Will he also tell them that if local government overspends it will have a debilitating effect on pensions, jobs and savings?
§ Mr. Tom Clarke
Has the Minister informed the local authority associations of the figure that the Government have in mind for inflation and wage settlements? If the Government have not so informed the local authorities., will the Minister now tell the House the figures?
§ Mr. Simon Hughes
What will the Minister tell the local authorities next time he meets them, in response to the concern expressed by the Association of County Councils—a Tory-dominated body—which voted 95 to 2 against the Government's proposals? Why is it necessary not only to have discussions with the association's groupings, but to brief individual Government Back Benchers to win their support at the expense of the taxpayer for the departmental computers in the Department of the Environment?
§ Mr. Murphy
When he meets local authority representatives will my hon. Friend discuss the working of the rate support grant settlement as it affects shire counties with high rateable values, and the maintenance of education standards in counties such as Hertfordshire?
§ Mr. Rooker
When the Minister next meets the association, will he confirm that the Secretary of State does not intend to remove the vote from the disabled and unemployed, as he implied on the Jimmy Young show this morning, when he contrasted the position of such people with business men who allegedly do not have a vote?
§ Mr. Straw
Is the Minister aware that, as part of the Secretary of State's campaign grossly to distort and exaggerate the impact of rates upon businesses, he has briefed his Cabinet colleagues to the effect that business rates form half of industry's trading profits, although the Minister has just informed me that they form one quarter of that figure—that is, one eighth? When the Minister meets the local authority associations, will he say whether the CBI or the Minister is correct?
Will the Minister also take the opportunity to explain to the local authority associations that what the Secretary of State has told the House today about businesses paying a larger amount of rates, and the implications of what he said on the Jimmy Young show, suggest that he is seeking to re-impose a property qualification upon the right to vote, which was fought for on behalf of all working people for over a century?
§ Mr. Gow
Any information and any papers circulated by my right hon. Friend to his Cabinet colleagues—[Interruption.] Will the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) let me answer? He asked me a question and I am answering it. Any information and any papers circulated by my right hon. Friend to his Cabinet colleagues or others will have contained accurate information. In so far as there may have been any discrepancy between the figures to which the hon. Gentleman referred it is because one set of figures was adjusted for inflation and the other was not.