HC Deb 26 March 1968 vol 761 cc1134-6
5. Mr. Murton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will give a general direction, under Section 1(3)(b) of the Land Commission Act 1967, to the Land Commission that it should not seek to collect betterment levy twice in respect of the same piece of land.

Mr. MacDermot

No, Sir. Levy is not chargeable twice on the same development value, but is properly chargeable where additional development value is realised in respect of the same land.

Mr. Murton

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman realise that there is a problem of interaction between the proposed time limits of the planning permission and of betterment levy, and that there are cases of this? Could the matter be put right?

Mr. MacDermot

I am not aware of any situation in which levy could be charged twice on the same development value. If the hon. Gentleman knows of any such case, I shall gladly consider it.

22. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how much levy has so far been collected by the Land Commission in the present financial year.

28. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what is the latest figure of the amount of betterment levy assessed by the Land Commission.

Mr. MacDermot

Up to 15th March, 1968, £1,432,107 had been assessed and £303,054 had been collected.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Does not the amount collected amount to only £1 for every £12 that the Commission has administered in expenditure? In the circumstances, would it not be better to hand over revenue collection to the Inland Revenue and redeploy the Commission and staff into the export industry?

Mr. MacDermot

As I have argued with the right hon. Gentleman before in debate, I do not think that transferring the function to another Department will reduce the amount of staff that will be required in order to carry out the work. The reason for these low figures in the initial year is that, under the transition provisions, in practice virtually all stocks of land held by builders on the appointed day proved exempt from the levy.

Mr. Blenkinsop

I welcome the beginning of this attack upon the profits of land speculation. Can my hon. and learned Friend say whether there is any further action to be taken to speed up this matter, and whether it is causing any delay in bringing land forward for development?

Mr. MacDermot

It is already coming at an increasing rate, and I expect this pressure to continue as the stocks held at the appointed day are brought forward and that land is replaced by other land transactions.

Mr. Graham Page

In relation to the amount collected in betterment levy, would the Minister say how much the Land Commission has been able to collect in land speculation by acquiring and reselling land, when it does not have to pay betterment levy but puts the profit into its pocket?

Mr. MacDermot

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the Answer I gave to an earlier Question.

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