HC Deb 08 March 1927 vol 203 cc1041-2
65. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the system of rating on the basis of unimproved site value for Mombasa as in Nairobi was agreed to by the Secretary of State in 1922 on the recommendations of the local authorities at Mombasa; and whether, seeing that the Secretary of State subsequently changed the basis to annual value, so that unbuilt-on suburban land escaped rating, he will say at what date was this reversal of policy made and at whose instance?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The later decision to effect assessment temporarily on the basis of annual value was taken on the advice of the District Committee, and provision was made accordingly in Township Rules dated 17th September, 1923. No change has been made since this date. This arrangement was originally intended as a temporary measure until the Town Planning Scheme had advanced sufficiently to enable the assessment on site values to be carried out satisfactorily. That scheme was approved some months ago, but it is understood that further consideration of the question of the basis of municipal taxation in Mombasa was postponed pending the Report of the Local Government Commission, whose inquiry covers this subject.


Are we to understand that the change from land value to annual value was proposed out there and not at the Colonial Office here?


Yes, I think it was at the desire of the Indian residents in Mombasa that the change was made. The question, of course, will come up in the Report of the Local Government Commission.