HC Deb 09 February 1933 vol 274 cc349-50
42. Mr. JOEL

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the tendency by local authorities to increase the assessment of premises which the owners have improved in response to the public desire that reconditioning work should be put in hand to relieve unemployment; and whether he will call the attention of the local authorities to the consequences of this policy, which will entail the stoppage of this type of work?


asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that, in response to the wishes of the Government and the appeal of local voluntary committees for the relief of unemployment, house owners have given employment in sundry improvements of their houses and are accordingly faced with an increase of assessment involving them in higher rates which will discourage such efforts in future; and whether, seeing that no extra charge on the rates is in- volved by such improvement, he will take action to urge local authorities to avoid or mitigate this obstacle to the relief of unemployment?


The law requires that assessments for rating purposes shall be based on the rent at which the premises might reasonably be expected to let from year to year. Structural improvements which do, in fact, add to the rental value of premises must be taken into account in determining assessments, and I am not empowered to instruct local authorities to waive the statutory requirements in this matter. The execution of work which is in the nature of maintenance, repairs or re-decoration is not ordinarily regarded as justifying an increase of assessment. I propose, however, to ask the Central Valuation Committee to look into the matter with a, view to addressing a communication to local authorities if they consider such a course necessary.


Is the Minister not aware that those whose premises are reassessed are able to appeal if they feel aggrieved?


Undoubtedly full rights of appeal are secured to the assessee in all these assessments.


Is the Minister aware that if he rated land values instead of improvements, it would encourage employment.