HC Deb 14 February 1973 vol 850 cc1276-7
24. Mr. Roderick

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has offered officials producing the new rating valuation lists.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

The valuation officers of the Inland Revenue are required by statute to prepare the new valuation lists in accordance with the provisions of the General Rate Act 1967. It is not for my right hon. and learned Friend to give them advice.

Mr. Roderick

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that officials have taken the decision of their own volition, to have what is, in effect, industrial derating, and that domestic ratepayers are to pay more rates than they would previously have done? Will he acknowledge that the council house tenant and domestic ratepayers in general must pay in rates well above the 5 per cent. increase that the Prime Minister would like to see?

Mr. Griffiths

I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that officers of the Inland Revenue have done anything other than their full duty under the Act, which was brought in by the Labour Government. Material assistance has been given to mitigate the pressure on domestic ratepayers, and the whole series of discussions that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State have been having with local authorities may yet lead to decisions which will be made known to the House at an appropriate time.

Mr. Leonard

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Ford Motor Company is likely to benefit to the extent of about £250,000 through the derating that is implicit for industry in this rating revaluation? The shortfall will have to be made up by domestic ratepayers in the London boroughs of Havering and Barking. Does not he feel that in the light of this circumstance the Government should consider carefully whether they should proceed with rating revaluation at this time?

Mr. Griffiths

I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend will be glad to consider the specific case mentioned by the hon. Gentleman. If revaluation had not been postponed for 10 years by the last Government we should not be confronted with the substantial changes of value with which we are now having to cope.