HC Deb 25 March 1981 vol 1 cc944-5
Mr. Rifkind

I beg to move Government amendment No. 2, in page 2, line 10, leave out 'any' and insert `every'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

With this is will be convenient to take Government Amendments Nos. 3 and 4.

Mr. Rifkind

The purpose of the amendment is to make it clear that an order requiring a partial revaluation—that is the revaluation of certain specified classes of land and heritages only—must apply in respect of every new valuation roll as regards the classes of property to be revalued. This will mean, for example, that an order could not provide for dwelling-houses to be revalued in Fife and not in Tayside. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) will recall that when we discussed this issue in Committee I accepted in principle that partial revaluation orders should apply uniformly throughout Scotland in respect of the classes of property to which they applied. This simple amendment is intended to put the matter beyond doubt.

Government amendments Nos. 3 and 4 give effect to an undertaking that I gave in Committee to bring forward a proposal to ensure that the method of adjusting the net annual value of property in a partial revaluation would be such as to preserve the ratios between the rateable values of the specified and unspecified lands and heritages as regards each valuation area and not, as the Bill stands, in respect of Scotland as a whole. The hon. Member for Garscadden will recall that when we discussed the issue in Committee I agreed that if the adjustment factor were calculated by reference to the all-Scotland ratio there could, in some areas, be significant shifts in the distribution of rate burdens between classes of ratepayers. That was not the intention of the clause and the amendments will avoid any such effect.

Mr. Dewar

These amendments are not merely acceptable; they are welcome to the Opposition. They are technical, and I do not want to weary the House. They are an adequate response to the issues that were debated at length in Committee, on the initiative of my hon. Friends. Government amendment No. 4 makes it clear that ratios between valued and unvalued categories of property will be preserved when there is a partial revaluation. The fact that the ratios are to be kept constant within an assessment area, rather than in Scotland as a whole, is a substantial change. It was with some satisfaction that I read the terms of the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 3, in page 2, line 40, at end insert '; and the order may prescribe different such methods as regards different valuation areas.'. No. 4, in page 2, line 46, leave out 'Scotland as a whole' and insert 'each valuation area'.—[Mr. Rifkind.]

Mr. Rifkind

I beg to move amendment No. 5, in page 3, line 24, leave out `(6A)', and insert `6D)'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 6 and 7.

Mr. Rifkind.

In Committee, in response to an amendment introduced by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar), I undertook to reconsider the most appropriate form of parliamentary scrutiny for an order under clause 2(a)(i) requiring a partial revaluation. On reflection, I take the hon. Gentleman's point that such an order is sufficiently important to require the positive scrutiny of both Houses of Parliament. The amendments give effect to my reconsideration of the hon. Gentleman's arguments. The amendments do not affect the parliamentary procedures for orders under what will be section (6B), which prescribes the method of adjusting net annual values at a partial revaluation. Such orders will continue to be subject to the negative resolution procedure.

Mr. Dewar

I welcome the amendments. They put into effect changes that were proposed by Labour Members in Committee. It seems eminently sensible that something as controversial as a decision to postpone partially a revaluation should be subject to the affirmative procedure. I am grateful to the Minister for his concession.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 6, in page 3, line 25, leave out from 'shall to 'have' in line 28.

No. 7, in page 3, line 30, after 'Parliament' insert; (b) subsection (6A) above shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament'.—[Mr. Rifkind.]

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