§ 12. Mr. Willis
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the average percentage increase in local rates in Scotland since 1951.
§ Mr. Maclay
The average amount of rates collected per £ of rateable value has increased by 70 per cent. since 1950–51.
§ Mr. Willis
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I did not expect him to maintain his record for very long? Is he aware that an intolerable burden has been imposed on the ratepayers of Scotland? Is it not time that he seriously considered alternative or additional methods of supplementing the present rating revenue?
§ Mr. Maclay
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will realise that I did not expect him to retain his rather surprising view for very long. The figures I have given are a reflection of the activity of local authorities in building houses and schools and extending their services generally. Ratepayers naturally contribute to that. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that Government grants have risen by 134 per cent. over the same period.
§ Mr. T. Fraser
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that with the great increases in rates over the last eight years, he is barking up the wrong tree in what he says about the need for local authorities to charge economic rents, because the local authorities with the highest increases of rates are those which have had the highest rent increases? I give him the example of Edinburgh where the increase has been 120 per cent. rather than 70 per cent.