HC Deb 09 March 1954 vol 524 cc1931-2
53. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what representations he has received from the Metropolitan Boroughs' Standing Joint Committee urging the abolition of derating; and what reply he has made.

Mr. Marples

My right hon. Friend received representations in connection with the review of the Exchequer equalisation grant urging the abolition of the derating provision of the Local Government Act 1929 and replied that he could not regard such a change as a necessary preliminary to further consideration of the review.

Mr. Fletcher

That may be so, but is the Minister aware that there is a widespread demand for the abolition of derating, and when can we know the proposals of the Government with regard to it?

55. Mr. Morley

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government when he will take measures to put an end to the derating of agricultural and industrial properties.

Mr. Marples

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) on 6th November last.

Mr. Morley

Has the hon. Gentleman noticed that nearly all local authorities in this country have to raise their rates during the forthcoming year, and if he is not willing to consider the abolition of derating, what additional source of revenue does he propose to place at their disposal?

Mr. Marples

I cannot accept what the hon. Gentleman says because the issues are continually under consideration. That was the gist of the reply of my right hon. Friend to the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) in November, and my right hon. Friend did not want to make a statement on the subject.

Mr. Baldwin

Is my hon. Friend aware that the effect of derating land will be to increase the cost of producing food?

Mr. Short

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the county borough of Newcastle-upon-Tyne loses the equivalent of a 1s. 6d. rate through derating, and that we receive nothing at all by way of compensation from the rate equalisation grant?

Mr. G. Thomas

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this single proposal would bring the greatest possible relief to ratepayers throughout the country and that it would mean a reduction of 3s. in the rates in the City of Cardiff? Will he hurry up his consideration of the matter?

Mr. Marples

I am surprised that it was not done between 1945 and 1951.

Mr. Fletcher

In view of the Minister's most unsatisfactory reply, I beg to give notice that I shall take the earliest opportunity of raising this matter on the Adjournment.