HC Deb 24 May 1966 vol 729 cc269-70
16. Sir D. Renton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is aware that the growing rate burden creates hardship for many domestic ratepayers; and when he proposes to introduce legislation to alleviate that burden.

Mr. Crossman

I refer the hon. Member to the Local Government Bill, published last Wednesday.

Sir D. Renton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the cost has increased by about 25 per cent. in the last two years, and that the Measure to which he refers will alleviate the burden by only a small proportion? Will he state what the proportion is?

Mr. Crossman

Yes, Sir. It will alleviate the burden on the domestic ratepayer by roughly half the annual increase.

Mr. Rippon

Does the Minister agree that what he has just said means that next year the average ratepayer will receive a larger bill than ever before?

Mr. Crossman

Yes. It means that the annual increase in the rate bill, which has now been going on ever since the last revaluation, cannot be curbed until either we halt the increase in our social services or have a form of local taxation which is expandable and does not have to be increased each year when there is a rate increase.

Mr. Winnick

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many old and retired ratepayers are extremely grateful for the new rate relief brought in last year, on which the Tory Party took no action for the 13 years when it was in office?

29. Mr. Onslow

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what estimate he has made of the cost involved in obtaining statistics to show the total extra cost to ratepayers in England and Wales of increases in taxation, National Insurance contributions, and higher interest rates, since October 1964.

Mr. MacColl

None. But I know the cost of obtaining them would be substantial.

Mr. Onslow

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already informed me that most of these statistics have been published? Does the Joint Parliamentary Secretary therefore wish the House to conclude, as it will, that his reason for refusing to do this is because he dare not do so for political reasons?

Mr. MacColl

My reason for not wishing to do it is because I do not wish to overburden the staff and to increase the cost of administration by trying to obtain complicated figures which are not readily available.