HC Deb 16 May 1958 vol 588 cc833-5

Amendments made: In page 1, line 16, leave out "adopted" and insert "stated".

In page 1, line 17, leave out "for the purposes of" and insert "in".

In page 2, line 7, at end insert: as respects the land and any amount overpaid shall be repaid or allowed and any amount underpaid may be recovered as if it were arrears of the rate".

In page 2, line 7, at end insert: (3) Where at the date the rate Is made the annual value of the land has never been determined for the purposes of Schedule A but the land includes the whole or part of any land whose annual value has then been so determined or consists of or includes the whole or part of any such lands, then, for the purposes of subsection (2) of this section, the annual value mentioned in paragraph (b) thereof shall be taken to be the aggregate of—

  1. (a) the annual value or values last so determined before the said date (apportioned in the case of any land only partly included in the first-mentioned land); and
  2. (b) so much (if any) of the annual value mentioned in paragraph (a) of that subsection as is proportionate to any part of the first-mentioned land which neither is nor forms part of land whose annual value has then been determined as aforesaid.

In page 2, line 15, leave out from "when" to "and" in line 16 and insert: an assessment for that year in respect of the land has been signed and allowed under section thirty-five of the Income Tax Act, 1952, or under that section as applied by the Fifth Schedule to that Act".

In page 2, line 18, leave out "an appeal having been brought" and insert: a notice of appeal having been given".—[Miss Pike.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

1.45 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. J. B. Godber)

I do not wish to hold up the passage of the Bill, but I should like to take this opportunity of congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Melton (Miss Pike) on having brought the Bill forward and to make it clear that the Government support the Bill. We believe that it will be helpful and will clear up one or two doubtful points.

It is clear that the drainage board must levy a rate on whichever of the two values set out in Clause 1 (2) is the lesser. This will almost invariably be the value last determined. In most cases there will be no doubt what this value is, but it may be that a landowner has bought some adjacent parcels of land and all these parcels have been combined in one assessment. In that case, the value as last determined will be the combined value of the land which was previously assessed separately.

Again, it may be that on one of these parcels of land there was no Schedule A assessment. In that case, the procedure would be as follows. First, we take the annual values as last determined of any lands on which there was a last determination and add them together. Then one would find the proportion which the land not previously assessed for Schedule A purposes bears to the land included in the new assessment, and it is a similar proportion of the new assessment. The combination of those sums will then become the annual value as last determined for the purposes of Clause 1 (2, b).

The Bill, as drafted, operates on each rate separately. This must be so, as each rate is a separate thing. Nevertheless, if there is a dispute between the taxpayer and the Revenue about a property, and that dispute lasts for more than one year, the amendment will operate in respect of each of the rates levied in the year of dispute. I know that this sounds complicated, but if, for instance, it takes three years for an appeal to be settled, the rates levied in respect of the property in dispute for all three separate years will fall to be amended in the light of the final decision.

I have thought fit to make that clear, in case there was any doubt in the minds of those concerned. Having said it, I would merely repeat that I am very glad that my hon. Friend has brought forward the Bill which will, I think, meet a general need to clear up an undoubted difficulty that has here arisen for drainage boards.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, with Amendments.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

1.52 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Moyle (Oldbury and Halesowen)

We should not part with this Bill without thanking the hon. Lady the Member for Melton (Miss Pike) for having sponsored it. As Vice-President of the Internal Drainage Authorities' Association, I can tell her that if this Measure gets on to the Statute Book, as I hope it will, it will be very much appreciated by those authorities, and will clear up one or two vague points relating to the assessment and collection of the rates concerned. I am very grateful to have this opportunity to express our appreciation to the hon. Lady.

Miss Mervyn Pike (Melton)

I should like to thank all those who have made the Bill possible. As hon. Members know, I should have liked to have brought in a Bill with much greater ramifications in the realms of land drainage, but the trouble that there has been in getting agreement on this little Measure has taught me that problems of land drainage are very difficult. I should have liked to have helped my constituents who suffer the terrible hardship of flooding. However, I hope that the Bill will not only help drainage boards to do their work more effectively but will serve to draw attention to the need for bigger reforms.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

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