§ 60. Sir J. Mellor
asked the Minister of Health whether he will introduce legislation to secure that loss of revenue due to reduced rateable value caused by enemy action in a particular district shall not be borne exclusively by the local authority for that district but shall be equitably apportioned between local authorities generally?
Mr. M. MacDonald
Any financial assistance that may be necessary, as a result of circumstances arising out of the war, in order to ensure the maintenance of essential services, will be afforded to the local authority of the area concerned out of Exchequer funds, and I do not contemplate the introduction of such legislation as my hon. Friend suggests.
§ 64. Sir J. Mellor
asked the Minister of Health whether he has approved the action of some local authorities who have required householders applying for remission of rates on the ground that the premises have been vacated and emptied of all furniture and tenant's fittings to certify that they have no intention of occupying the premises in the future; 293 whether he is aware that, pending judicial decision on the validity of the contention that constructive occupation exists where property is reserved for future use, much uncertainty and confusion will arise; and whether he proposes to introduce legislation to define the rateability of vacated property.
I have no authority to give any such approval as is mentioned in the first part of the Question, or to interpret the law in this matter. Despite the measure of uncertainty to which my hon. Friend refers, I do not think that the circumstances justify the introduction of legislation on this subject at the present time.
§ Sir J. Mellor
How can anyone be expected to foresee whether he will or will not be able to live in his house, should he still possess it, after the war?
I appreciate that there are uncertainties in the present situation, affecting many more people than those to whom my hon. Friend refers. I am bound to say that in spite of such uncertainties I think that the introduction of legislation is not appropriate at present.
It was all those considerations which, naturally, I had in mind in reaching a decision.