HC Deb 15 March 1973 vol 852 cc430-1W
Mr. Donald Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the average charge to English domestic ratepayers in rate payments in each of the last four years.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

Average domestic rate payments in England over the last four years were:

1969–70 44.36
1970–71 46.82
1971–72 53.93
1972–73 60.79

Mr. Alfred Morris

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the terms of his Department's telephone message to Manchester Corporation on Friday 2nd March, concerning the city's rates; what further communication there has been between his Department and the corporation on this matter; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Graham Page

The Department was asked by the city treasurer on 2nd March for telephone comments on the rates monitoring return which had only been received on the previous day. The Department's reply was that a first scrutiny of the figures for expenditure on services other than housing suggested that the rate of growth envisaged might be higher than that for which we were looking from authorities generally on the basis of the rate support grant settlement. However, in subsequent telephone conversations it emerged that certain housing expenditure had been incorrectly returned as "other expenditure". On 7th March, the city treasurer was told that, on the basis of the adjusted return, my right hon. and learned Friend had no specific comment to make on the council's proposal but that nevertheless, an average rate increase of some 17 per cent. on top of the 30 per cent. increase last year would clearly be unwelcome to ratepayers and he hoped that before confirming the proposed estimates, the council would give them a further scrutiny with a view to making a reduction in the amount ratepayers would have to pay.

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