HC Deb 28 February 1938 vol 332 cc744-5
43. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the Rating of Government Property Department have refused to pay rates to the Fife County Council in respect of properties in the parish of Creich and Monimail for the periods 1930–36 and 1932–36, respectively; what is the reason for this refusal; and whether he will take steps to secure full payment of arrears to the Fife County Council?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

Rates are not payable for properties in the occupation of the Crown for the public service, but contributions in lieu of rates are granted in respect of such properties on application by the local authority, I understand that no application was received from the Fife County Council in respect of the properties in the parishes of Creich and Monimail until April, 1937, and that, upon receipt of the application, the appropriate contributions from Whitsunday, 1936, have been granted. A private ratepayer in similar circumstances could not be required to pay rates in respect of any period before that covered by the county council's application, and it is not the practice of the Exchequer to contribute in lieu of rates more than what would have been its liability as a ratepayer.

Mr. Stewart

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the assessment levied by the county council depends upon the ratepayer first having filled up certain forms which in this case was not done by the Government Department concerned; and will he look into that point?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

I have made no secret of the fact that certain property is assessable, but I do not think that the taxpayer should be in any worse position than the ratepayer.