1 A.C. 768
[HOUSE OF LORDS]
BROMLEY LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL RESPONDENTS AND GREATER LONDON COUNCIL AND ANOTHER APPELLANTS
1981 Nov. 5, 6, 9, 10
Lord Denning M.R., Oliver and Watkins L.JJ.
1981 Nov. 24, 25, 26, 30; Dec. 1, 2, 3; 17
Lord Wilberforce, Lord Diplock, Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Scarman and Lord Brandon of Oakbrook
LORD DENNING M.R. On May 7 of this year there was an election for the Greater London Council. Tn advance of the election, the Labour Party issued a manifesto. In it they promised that, if they won, they would within six months cut the fares on London’s buses and tubes by 25 per cent. They did win the election. They kept their promise. They told the London Transport Executive to cut the fares by 25 per cent. The Transport Executive did as they were told. Within six months, on October 4, 1981, they cut the fares by 25 per cent. The travelling public were well pleased with the gift. It meant millions of pounds in their pockets instead of in the ticket machines. But not the ratepayers of London. They were required to contribute £69 million to pay for it. In order to enforce payment, the G.L.C. made a supplementary precept. This was an order directed to all the 35 London boroughs commanding them to raise the necessary funds. They were to do it by making a supplementary rate on all the ratepayers. The London boroughs have most reluctantly obeyed. They have made the supplementary rate and have required their ratepayers to pay it. But meanwhile one London borough – Bromley – has challenged the validity of the whole procedure. They apply to the courts for an order of certiorari to quash the supplementary precept.
At the outset I would say that all three members of this court are interested on all sides. We are all fare-paying passengers on the tubes and buses and benefit from the 25 per cent. cut in fares. My wife and I also have the benefit of senior citizens to travel free. We are all ratepayers in the area of Greater London and have to pay the increase in rates imposed by the supplementary precept. No objection is taken by any party to our hearing the case. Any Court of Appeal would be likewise placed.