HC Deb 13 December 1962 vol 669 cc562-3
17. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs why he sent a circular last week to local authorities on the subject of rates.

Sir K. Joseph

To suggest the steps to be taken to bring the new lists to the notice of the public and to remind local authorities that the revaluation does not in itself justify any increase in either expenditure or balances.

Mr. Lipton

In view of the obvious and understandable signs of panic in Government circles about the savage impact that the new regulations will have, will the Minister explain how it is that in this circular he asks local authorities to assume that the general level of values in the new list will be maintained, despite the large number of appeals that are likely to be made to local valuation committees? Have some secret instructions been given to those committees and, as a result, will any appeal against their decisions be a complete waste of time?

Sir K. Joseph

In the nature of things there will be appeals, and some will be successful. What I was trying to avoid was the danger that local authorities would over-estimate the effect of this on their rate yield and thus provide a larger reserve. As for the last part of the hon. Member's typically slanted remarks, I am sure that the public will recognise that it is largely through taxes, but partly also through rates, that the cost of our vastly expanding social and educational services has to be met.

Mrs. Slater

Does the Minister intend this as an indirect way of telling local authorities not to spend more on the social services?

Sir K. Joseph

Certainly not. My colleagues on the Front Bench are continually explaining to the House, and are impressing upon local authorities, the expansion which the country desires in its educational and social services.

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