§ Mr. Rees-Davies
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will give the best information now available to his Department on the claims made by councillors for attendance, subsistence and travelling allowances in respect of county councils throughout England and Wales and in the case of district councils throughout the South-East area giving full details, separately, in respect of the Greater London Council;303W
(2) if he will now collect statistics from local authorities relating to the attendance, subsistence and travelling allowances claimed by councillors both in county councils and in district councils throughout England and Wales; and if he will make a statement regarding the obligations imposed on such local authorities.
§ Mr. Oakes
As I have explained in correspondence with the hon. and learned Member, local authorities are not required to provide these details to my Department. Such estimates as can be made, however, suggest that the total expenditure of local authorities in England and Wales in 1974–75 was £8 million on attendance allowances, £1½ million on travelling allowances and a further £½ million on subsistence.
In the Government's view it would be an unnecessary additional burden on local authorities if they were required to make these returns to a central Department. It is sufficient that they are obliged to make available to local electors the accounts relating to these payments.