HC Deb 07 May 1968 vol 764 c189
17. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what study he has made of the possibility of a sales tax to supplement rates as a means of collecting local government revenue.

Mr. Skeffington

A local sales tax was among the possible new sources of local revenue studied before the Government concluded that fundamental changes in local finance were not practicable within the existing local government structure. This and other possibilities will be considered again in the light of what emerges from the Royal Commissions on Local Government.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, at the last election, the Labour Party said that the most urgent area of tax reform was the rating system? When are the Government to make this reform?

Mr. Skeffington

The Government are absolutely clear that this is a reform which should have been tackled many years ago. The present Government have taken the first step of setting up a comprehensive review of the whole structure of local government, which will enable a reform of finance to be made.

Mr. Cant

Will my hon. Friend invite the hon. Gentleman to attend meetings of the Finance Bill Committee to see how bitterly opposed his hon. Friends are to any increase in indirect taxation?