HC Deb 05 June 1957 vol 571 cc1407-8

Lords Amendment made: In page 16, line 21, leave out "' the Act of 1939 '".[Mr. H. Brooke.]

Lords Amendment: In page 18, line 11, leave out "fifteenth day of March," and insert "first day of April,".

Mr. Bevins

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

When the Bill was introduced, the date before which a proposal had to be made which was liable to affect either the gross value or the rateable value of a dwelling for the purpose of finding out the Bill rent or deciding questions of decontrol was given as 7th November, 1956.

On Report, the date was extended to 15th March, 1957, which happened to be the date on which the Amendment was tabled. Had a later date than 15th March been inserted in the Bill at that stage—say, 1st April—there would have been a risk that in certain cases both landlords and tenants might have lodged proposals to vary assessments, not to secure rating assessments on their properties but to vary them for the purposes of the Bill, that is to say, either to depress the gross rateable value for the purpose of paying a lower rent in future or, alternatively, to depress the rateable value in order to keep the house out of decontrol.

The view was then taken that unless the same date-15th March—was written into the Bill there was a real danger that the appeals machinery for assessments would be heavily overstrained. The Lords Amendment extends the period by a further two weeks, to 1st April, which means that a full twelve months has been provided from 1st April, 1956—when the new assessments came into force—for assessments to be altered for the purposes of the Bill. That brings the Bill into line with general valuation law, on the ground that where an assessment has been wrong, and has been demonstrated to be wrong during the first twelve months the correction may date back to 1st April. 1956, which was the date when the assessments first came into force.

I think that the Lords Amendment is reasonable and I hope that the House will accept it.

Mr. Mitchison

That seems reasonable.

Question put and agreed to.