HC Deb 23 March 1983 vol 39 c859
16. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received supporting the domestic rating system.

Mr. King

Of the 1,125 responses to the Green Paper, 493 were broadly in favour of retaining domestic rates in some form.

Mr. Knox

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that it is still the Government's intention to reform, or better still to abolish, the domestic rating system? Is he aware that there is no acceptable alternative to reform or abolition?

Mr. King

As my hon. Friend knows, this matter is under close consideration. I can go no further than the answers that I have already given to the House on this matter.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

What does the Minister mean by "close consideration"? Does he not realise that this commitment was given in 1974 and continued in 1979? After four years of a Conservative Government we have seen no proposal to fulfil that commitment.

Mr. King

I mean exactly what I said.

Mr. Hicks

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many people in Britain expect the Government to take action on reforming the domestic rating system? If unanimity cannot be found on any of the options outlined in the Green Paper, does my right hon. Friend agree that an interim measure is required very soon?

Mr. King

I am well aware of the interest and expectation over this matter. I assure my hon. Friend that we shall be bringing forward proposals on this matter.

Mr. Stephen Ross

Why does not the Secretary of State implement the Layfield report recommendations published in 1976, which would overcome all the problems and get on with the job of putting local income tax in place of rates?

Mr. King

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who I know always tries to be helpful in these matters.