HC Deb 29 June 1988 vol 136 cc361-2
16. Mr. Allen Adams

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department is taking to encourage local authorities to seek the prompt payment of poll tax as a lump sum.

Mr. Lang

Following consultation with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities an amendment has been made to the Local Government Finance Bill in the other place which would give community charge levying authorities in Scotland power to offer discounts or other incentives to encourage community charge payers to enter into payment arrangements of financial benefit to the authority. Such arrangements could include payment by a lump sum.

Mr. Adams

Scottish Opposition Members understand just how much of a lottery Government policy is. Chancellors tend to like lotteries. Will the Minister take this opportunity to try to expunge some of his heinous guilt by saying that he will dissociate himself completely from any local authority attempting to run a lottery for those who can afford to pay their poll tax in one lump sum? That excludes the vast majority of people who cannot afford to pay it in that way.

Mr. Lang

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the amendment tabled to the Local Government Finance Bill had no effect in changing the law, but simply clarifies it in response to a request from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. The provision for lotteries which the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Max ton) described as, "Mad—a really crazy scheme," and which his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) described as, "A bad joke", was enshrined in the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 brought in by the last Labour Government.

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