§ Mr. Forman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has for changes in the arrangements for the payment of grants made by his Department to support law and order services.
§ Mr. Hurd
As part of the preparation for the new local government finance arrangements proposed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, I have been reviewing the role of specific grants paid to local authorities to support the law and order services. We intend to retain the grants paid in respect of the police service, the civil defence service, the magistrates' courts service and the probation service. Such grants will continue to be paid to the authorities responsible for meeting the expenditure, not into the proposed community charge fund.
I shall, however, consult the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and the local authority organisations 711W concerned about changes to the present arrangements for the imperial and national services grant and other minor direct payments presently made to the Metropolitan police fund, including their possible integration into the main police grant.
I also intend to consult the local authorities and the services concerned about the scope for modifying the magistrates' courts and probation service grant arrangements so that the amount paid out by central Government to support these services is known before the beginning of the financial year, and is distributed on an equitable basis to local authorities.