HC Deb 28 April 1971 vol 816 c412
21. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to complete his consideration of the necessary legislative provisions for disregarding war pensons in the computation of incomes for the purpose of assessing entitlement to rate rebate.

Mr. Graham Page

I must ask my right hon. Friend to await the Green Paper on local government finance, which I hope will be published before long.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Whilst I await that document with my habitual patience, may I ask my hon. Friend whether he accepts that our party is completely committed to disregard war pensions, and that it would be dishonourable not to do so?

Mr. Page

I can give my right hon. Friend a categorical assurance that if we decide to retain income-related rate relief we shall give the point of the war disability pensioners full consideration.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

May I first declare an interest as a war pensioner? Will the Minister bear in mind that, apart from promises made at party conferences, and given the reason for which pensions are awarded, they should not be considered as income in the normal sense of the term?

Mr. Page

The legislation provides that the income for rate rebate purposes is gross income, without any disregards. I do not think that there is any halfway house between a simple scheme with no disregards and a comprehensive scheme making due allowance for special circumstances, and there are many other special circumstances that we shall have to take into account in the rate review.