HC Deb 19 December 1928 vol 223 cc3015-7
65. Mr. LOOKER

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that a large number of ratepayers in the Wick-ford district of the Billericay Rural District Council desire to appeal against the new valuations of their properties, but will be at a great disadvantage when prosecuting such appeals unless they are aware of the basis on which such valuations were made by the expert valuer engaged; and will he call the attention of the Central Valuation Committee to the matter with a view to the necessary information being supplied?


My right hon. Friend is not aware of any provision which entitles a ratepayer to be supplied with the information mentioned by my hon. Friend. The matter is not one in which the Central Valuation Committee are empowered to give any direction.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that a similar position exists in many other districts of the same area and that it will be impossible for the householders concerned to prosecute their appeals under proper conditions unless they know the basis on which the valuations have been made, and cannot steps be taken to see that this information is available to them?


I know there are some difficulties such as my hon. Friend has mentioned, but I do not think there is any statutory provision by which they can see the basis on which such valuations are made. I think that at a later stage of the proceedings they will be entitled to certain information, but perhaps my hon. Friend will confer with me about it.

68. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the Minister of Health whether he has received a protest from the Ratepayers' Association, Laindon, Essex, in connection with the increase of re-assessments of houses and bungalows; if he is aware that in some cases assessments have been increased by 300 per cent.; and what reply he has made?


My right hon. Friend has not received any communication from the association referred to. In any case he has no power to intervene in regard to assessments for rates, which is a matter for the local authorities, subject to the right of appeal to the Courts. If a ratepayer considers that his assessment is too high he may lodge an objection with the assessment committee, and, if dissatisfied with the committee's decision, may then appeal to Quarter Sessions.


Has the right hon. Gentleman seen a report in a newspaper of a meeting at Pitsea at which reports were made complaining about the assessments being raised as much as 400 per cent.?


No, I have not had the opportunity of seeing that account, but perhaps the hon. Member will draw the attention of the people affected to the answer I have given to-day as to the rights which they have in the matter.


Can my right hon. Friend give the House any idea of the cost of an appeal to Quarter Sessions in the case of small house property?


I suppose that, to some extent, that depends on the cost of counsel; some counsel cost more than others.


asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that dissatisfaction exists amongst the ratepayers of Finchley and district as to the manner in which the proceedings of the North Middlesex assessment committee are recorded, which prevents adequate information being given to ratepayers as to assessments in accordance with the provision of Section 60 of the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925; and whether he will refer the matter to the Central Valuation Committee with a view to this information being given?


My right hon. Friend is not sure what information precisely the hon. Member has in mind. Any altera- tions made by the assessment committee when revising the draft valuation list will be shown in that list which ratepayers are empowered by Section 60 of the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, to inspect. It is not clear that, the matter is one in regard to which the central valuation committee would feel that they could properly take any action, but it is open to the hon. Member to lay the facts before them if he so desires.