HC Deb 18 February 1948 vol 447 cc1281-2

(1) Subsection (1) of Section eleven of the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925 (which imposes a limit on the rateable value of hereditaments outside London in respect of which owners may be rated instead of occupiers of thirteen pounds or, where at the passing of that Act a higher limit was in certain circumstances in force, that higher limit) for the words "thirteen pounds," there shall be substituted the words "eighteen pounds," and for the words "that higher limit," there shall be substituted the words "twenty-five pounds."

(2) The Poor Rate Assessment and Collection Act, 1869, shall have effect as if in Section three of that Act (which imposes a limit of twenty pounds in the corresponding provisions relating to London) for the words "twenty pounds," there were substituted the words "twenty-five pounds."—[Mr. T. Lewis.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Thomas Lewis (Southampton)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause deals with the question of the compounding of rates. Under the law as it is at present, the rating authorities are empowered to direct that owners of certain classes of hereditaments shall be rated compulsorily, instead of the occupiers. This is known as "compounding." At present, the general limit is £13 in the provinces, and £20 in London. Several other large towns have limits between these two figures.

It is anticipated that the revaluation of dwelling houses, in accordance with the provisions of Part IV of the Bill, will remove a large number of houses from the compounding provision. In Birmingham, there are about 170,000 houses concerned, and, if the limits remain the same, it is anticipated that 90,000, considerably more than half of them, will be removed from the compounding provisions. The result will be that considerably more tenants will become ratepayers because, of course, the owner is commonly the owner of more than one property.

This, in its turn, will mean a considerable addition in the cost of collecting rates, and will involve the revision of tenancy agreements. The figures of £18 and £25 would, it is anticipated, allow most of the existing compounded properties to remain subject to this very convenient method of collecting rates, and, therefore, I hope the Minister will accept this new Clause.

Mr. Bevan

I see no reason at all why this new Clause should not be accepted. I cannot accept the reasons given by my hon. Friend, because they are largely based upon conjecture, and may not be realised; but the new compounding limits would have a certain practical value, and, therefore, I propose to accept the Clause.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.