HC Deb 31 January 1934 vol 285 cc352-3
42. Mr. JANNER

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that certain local councils are making a charge to landowners and tenants for supplying particulars of the rateable value of their premises and of the rates charged thereon in 1914, and that in some cases 2s. 6d. is charged for each statement; and whether he will recommend all local authorities to give the essential information free of charge?


If the cases to which the hon. Member refers are outside London, there is authority for a charge in such circumstances in Section 60 of the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, which empowers ratepayers to inspect and take extracts from rate-books and other documents. In the case of documents more than 10 years old, the Section specifically provides for the payment, in respect of each document in- spected, of a prescribed fee, which has been fixed at 2s. 6d. by statutory regulation. In London a ratepayer can inspect any rate-books, however old, free of charge, and an inhabitant who is not a ratepayer can only be charged a fee of 1s.


Is the hon. Gentleman prepared to recommend that this information shall be given to tenants and landlords without a charge, even in those cases where the Act provides for a charge at the present time, in order to enable those landlords and tenants to know the amount that is required for the purpose of the Rent Acts?


No, Sir; I think there is no case for departing from the law.


Will the hon. Gentleman consider whether he could not extend to provincial districts the same privileges which are, apparently, conferred on London ratepayers in regard to inspection of the rate-books? Will he explain why London is especially privileged?


That is a matter for debate.