HC Deb 07 May 1973 vol 856 cc8-9
7. Mr. Barry Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales to what extent he has assessed the effects of rating revaluation in Wales.

Mr. Peter Thomas

Revaluation redistributes the rateborne share of local government expenditure. Some ratepayers in Wales will pay more as a result of revaluation and others will pay less.

Mr. Jones

Are not households in Wales being bankrupted by the ferocious and draconian increases? Is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that in the Flint and Bagillt area the increases in rates are scandalous and massive? Could he please direct the valuation officer of Wrexham to think again on the assessments, lest the good citizens concerned leave East Flintshire and go to other parts?

Mr. Thomas

As the hon. Gentleman knows, and as I have said before, revaluation does not affect the total sum to be raised in rates, but it affects the distribution of the rate burden between authorities and between individuals within one authority. The hon. Gentleman knows, so far as the ratepayers in his constituency are concerned, that it has already been announced that domestic ratepayers whose rate bills for 1973–74 will increase substantially—that is, by more than 10 per cent.—as a result of revaluation will receive rebates financed in full by the Government to the extent of half the increase over 10 per cent.

Mr. Gower

Will my right hon. and learned Friend consider in the long term that local authorities have to bear one or two national services, such as teacher training, which could possibly with benefit be transferred to the taxpayer? Will he consider this matter? It is possible that one or two services of that nature are, by definition, national in their impact.

Mr. Thomas

I know that these matters have been widely canvassed. As my hon. Friend will appreciate, the matter is raised in another Question.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that some assessments will go down and that others will go up. Is he aware that in some towns in my constituency—for instance, in Pwllheli—most assessments have gone up threefold and fourfold? Will he give us a little more detail about what the stock point will be in relation to the increase in the rate demand when it works through? Is it right to assume that the Prime Minister's promise applied only to large conurbations, or may people in rural areas and small towns hope that the same kind of limitation on increase will apply?

Mr. Thomas

The assistance which will be given to domestic ratepayers whose rate bills in 1973–74 will increase by more than 10 percent. as a result of revaluation will be common to everyone who is in that position. The Government will finance 50 percent. of increases of over 10 per cent.

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