§ 33. Mr. Kinsey
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further representations he has received concerning the levying of rates on empty property; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Graham Page
My right hon. Friend has received a few representations on this subject, almost equally divided between those for greater stringency and those for greater flexibility than in the existing statutory provisions. We are examining this matter in the current review of local government finance.
§ Mr. Kinsey
Is my hon. Friend aware that I am delighted with that reply because of the difficulties that local authorities face in dealing with this problem? Authorities are anxious not to hit house building but would like to see flexibility exempting bonus—but they do not want 1342 to see void shops and office property in their areas not having rates levied on them. Will he be examining this question of void shops with no fronts to them and the need for a better definition?
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable point in drawing a distinction between the two different types of property? Since only 95 councils have used their permissive powers, will he make it compulsory for them to charge full rates and not half-rates?