§ Mr. Charles R. Morris
My right hon. Friend has no immediate plans to visit Chippenham; nevertheless, the problems of ratepayers in this type of area will receive full consideration in determining the 1975–76 rate support grant.
§ Mr. Morris
I appreciate the concern of ratepayers in Chippenham at the present level of rates, but the hon. Gentleman can help in this regard by explaining to the people of Chippenham that by increasing the domestic element of the rate support grant from 6p to 13p this Government have made the largest single contribution ever to assist the domestic ratepayer. With regard to a review of the rating system, I assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government are considering the scope for the reform of the rating system generally.
§ Mrs. Kellett-Bowman
Does the Minister recall that his hon. Friend the Minister of State, when speaking in the Adjournment debate on Monday night, said that he doubtedwhether it would be legal or ultra vires for water authorities to refund charges properly demanded and collected under the collection of charges order".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th June 1974; Vol. 874, c. 1381.]That order is Statutory Instrument No. 448. If what was said is so, would it not be a simple matter for the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the statutory instrument and bring in a more satisfactory one, which either inserts in Article 9(2), after "hereditament", the wordsin receipt of the serviceor, alternatively, makes provision for a retrospective payment for such hereditaments when they have been identified?
§ Mr. Morris
As the hon. Lady will observe, the Question on the Order Paper refers to a visit to Chippenham. In this context, if I may comment on the general point which she made, if we were to accept her thesis and solution we would leave the water authorities dry, financially.