HC Deb 23 June 1938 vol 337 cc1261-2
60. Brigadier-General Clifton Brown

asked the Minister of Health whether a committee has been appointed to consider the difficulties that have arisen under the Rating and Valuation Act which have caused the postponement of the quinquennial valuation in country districts; of whom that committee consists; and whether they will consult with agricultural interests on the rating of agricultural cottages?

Mr. Elliot

I hope that it will be practicable to set up the committee to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers at an early date; I have invited Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald, K.C., to act as Chairman, and he has agreed to do so, but I am not yet in a position to announce the constitution of the committee. Its scope will cover the whole of the allegations in the light of which the Rating and Valuation (Postponement of Valuation) Act, 1938, was passed, and the committee will, I am sure, obtain all material evidence before making their report.

Brigadier-General Brown

Will agricultural interests be able to give evidence before that committee?

Mr. Elliot

I am sure they will take all material evidence, of which I should certainly include that of the agricultural interests.

Mr. Poole

Surely, agricultural interests would not be considered by the right hon. Gentleman to be competent to advise on the rating of their own property?

63. Mr. Pilkington

asked the Minister of Health whether, in considering the whole question of local taxation and rates, he will consider the possibility of future assessment on ability to pay, as in Income Tax procedure, instead of on the size of the property, so that the heads of large families are not penalised through having to live in large houses; and whether he will give consideration to the possibility that the present practice is one reason for the low birth-rate?

Mr. Elliot

I have noted the suggestion of my hon. Friend.