HC Deb 01 May 1956 vol 552 cc180-1
6. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware that small boarding-house keepers and shopkeepers in places like Cleethorpes that have a seasonal trade of about ten weeks only, are alarmed at the increases in their rating assessments, and fear it may mean bankruptcy to many of them; and if he will reconsider the position of the small seaside resorts with a view to easing the proposed increases in their rates.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

I could not accept my hon. Friend's suggestion that property in certain towns should be valued differently from property in other parts of the country.

Mr. Osborne

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many men bought small boarding houses and small shops in little seaside places like this in the hope that they would keep them, but now they are having to go out to work in order to retain them? The extra burden that this involves will sink some of them. Is this not a special case which the Minister could look at again?

Hon. Members

It is happening all over the country.

Mr. Sandys

If the occupier of a boarding house considers that his assessment for rating does not sufficiently take into account the seasonal character of the trade and the length of the holiday period, that is a proper ground on which to make an appeal to the valuation courts.

Mr. Lewis

Is it not true that it is not only Cleethorpes which is affected but that this sort of thing is happening throughout the length and breadth of the country? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, that is so. Is not this another example of the Government efforts to reduce the cost of living?

Mr. Sandys

Do I understand that the hon. Member is speaking on behalf of the seaside resort of West Ham?