HC Deb 03 July 1928 vol 219 cc1168-9
56 and 57. Mr. HORE-BELISHA

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether, seeing that all rating authorities and other precepting and administrative bodies under the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, have separate associations of their own to which they can subscribe and which hold general meetings at which representatives from all constituent bodies can attend and discuss matters relating to their powers and duties, he will state why he has hitherto withheld his approval to assessment committees having a similar association of their own;

(2) whether, seeing that a large number of new assessment committees under the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, have indicated their desire to become affiliated with a national association representative of the assessment committees as constituted to-day, and as there are many legal questions with regard to the work of individual assessment committees upon which it would be advantageous for them to consult, not only in the interests of themselves but the ratepayers, he will consider giving the official recognition of his Department to such an association?


It is true that a number of assessment committees have indicated a desire for affiliation to a national association, and it is also true that representative associations of local authorities have taken exception to the suggestion. The Central Valuation Com- mittee, which is composed of members and officers of all the classes of local authorities which are represented on assessment committees, has been constituted in pursuance of a specific provision in the Eating and Valuation Act, 1925, for the purpose of promoting uniformity of valuation. That committee draws its funds from local authorities, and my right hon. Friend does not feel justified in encouraging the creation of another body financed from the same sources which would, to a large extent, duplicate the work of the Central Valuation Committee.


Does not that mean that the right hon. Gentleman is going to do nothing to give effect to the desires of these assessment committees?


As the hon. Member knows, there is a division of opinion on the matter, and my right hon. Friend is reluctant to impose burdens on local authorities.


But is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that there is a preponderating opinion in favour of these assessment committees being granted this facility? Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the matter in view of the fact that assessment committees are doing peculiar work, and that it is essential that a measure of co-operation between them should be secured?


The Central Valuation Committee serves most of the purposes required, and we cannot put further expenses on the local authority.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is no uniformity in regard to assessments, and would it not be advisable that these committees should not be allowed to have an association which is not provided for in the Act of 1925 or in the present Bill, so that we could have something approaching uniformity in assessments throughout the country?


There is an increasing amount of uniformity, and it was for the purpose of securing that that the Central Valuation Committee was constituted.

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