§ 41. Major PROCTER
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that machinery is being removed from idle cotton mills in order to escape the payment of rates, with the result that there is little likelihood of such mills ever being restarted; and whether he will consider the remission of rates on idle cotton mills in order to assist attempts which are now being made to restart these idle mills?
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Hilton Young)
The remission of rates as suggested, and any alteration of the basis of rating an assessment, would require legislation, and I am not in a posi- 333 tion to promise legislation altering the position established by the Local Government Act, 1929, at the present time.
§ Major PROCTER
Will the Minister consider introducing the necessary legislation to bring about some obviation of this state of affairs which is causing great distress in Lancashire Can he not see his way to introduce a Measure to make it possible for us to restart these mills instead of allowing the machinery to be removed?
§ Sir H. YOUNG
The general aspects of the matter are, of course, under consideration. With regard to the particular suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend, I am afraid I can add nothing to the answer which I have just given.
§ Sir W. BRASS
Would the Minister consider introducing a short Measure to allow rates to be removed where the machinery is not actually working, in order that the machinery may be left in the mills?
Mr. RHYS DAVIS
If the Minister does consider any further relief from rates of factories of this kind, will he bear in mind that it only means an increase in the rates on other property, including small cottage property?