HC Deb 13 June 1974 vol 874 cc1818-9
20. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total sum raised in local rates in the most recent annual period for which figures are available; and if he will express this total as a percentage of the total sum raised in national taxation and revenue duties during the same period.

Mr. Joel Barnett

The total sum raised in local rates in 1973-74 is estimated in the Financial Statement and Budget Report at £2,716 million, or 15.7 per cent. of total taxation.

Mr. Taylor

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the recent savage increases in local rates in some areas have demonstrated clearly that local rates represent about the most unfair and unjust form of taxation which has ever been invented? Will the Government say clearly whether they are investigating or considering a fundamental review of this iniquitous form of taxation?

Mr. Barnett

The hon. Gentleman will know that his own Government instituted a review of sorts and issued a Green Paper in which they outlined the problems of various alternatives and indicated why they could not be adopted. We are now considering the whole problem.

Mr. Marks

Is my hon. Friend aware that the previous Government gave quite insufficient time, during the passage of the Local Government Bill, for proper discussion of the alternatives to rating? Will he urge his right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council to set up a Select Committee to examine the alternatives?

Mr. Barnett

We are now considering the whole problem. I shall bear in mind what my hon. Friend says.