§ 11. Ms. Armstrong
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements he will make to assist people on low pay living in (a) Derwentside district and (b) Wear Valley district following the introduction of the community charge.
§ Mr. Howard
There will be community charge rebates of up to 80 per cent. for people on low incomes and compensation within income-related benefit rates towards the 20 per cent. minimum contribution.
§ Ms. Armstrong
Is the Minister aware that the estimates for Durham county, and especially for Wear Valley, show that 70 per cent. of the people who live there will pay over 20 per cent. more than the current rate that is levied? Is he further aware that people in areas such as mine, which have suffered enormously from de-industrialisation, have taken low-paid jobs to try to ensure a future for their communities? Will he allow those people to live with dignity by ensuring that they have a future, despite their poverty?
§ Mr. Howard
The hon. Lady's figures are based on assumptions for local government spending which need not be valid, and I hope that local authorities will take account of the level of community charge in assessing their future spending. I ask the hon. Lady to take note of the estimates that have been made, especially those in a recent independent study, of the effects of revaluation on low-priced terraced houses in the north, which would suffer badly in a revaluation of domestic properties.