HC Deb 13 November 1962 vol 667 cc174-5
24. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he will co-operate with the County Councils Association in its inquiries into the possibility of levying rates on the financial resources of a household to pay.

Sir K. Joseph

I understand that what the Association has in mind is an inquiry into the whole subject of local government finance. I welcome its initiative and will be happy to help in any way I can, but I do not think it desirable that I should be associated with the inquiry.

Dame Irene Ward

My right hon. Friend will bear in mind, will he not, that a great many of us want to have the rate based on ability to pay? Does he not agree that this is a wonderful opportunity to do something for those living on small fixed incomes? May I have his co-operation?

Sir K. Joseph

Yes, but it is into the practicability of this idea that the County Councils Association is setting up this inquiry.

Mr. M. Stewart

As the Minister has already expressed the view that private landlords should be allowed to take ability to pay into account when collecting rents, surely public authorities, when collecting public revenue, would have an equally good case for doing the same?

Sir K. Joseph

But in fact, of course, the rating system is based on the occupation of property and anyone who chooses to occupy property must take into account the rate implications of that occupation.

Sir P. Agnew

Whatever may be the views of the electors of Tynemouth, many people believe that one Income Tax is quite high enough as it is without having another one superimposed on it.

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend brings out cogently one of the factors one is inevitably led to if one departs from the objective test of rates which we have at the moment.

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