HC Deb 04 March 1992 vol 205 cc345-6

Lords amendment: No. 1, in page 2, line 22, leave out from ("which") to line 23 and insert—

  1. ("(a) is a composite hereditament for the purposes of Part III of the 1988 Act; and
  2. (b) would still be such a hereditament if paragraphs (b) to (d) of section 66(1) of that Act (domestic property) were omitted,")

5.23 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Robert Key)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)

With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 2, 12 to 14 and 16. Lords amendment No. 1 involves privilege.

Mr. Key

In Committee we debated the purpose of clause 3 and the difference between clause 3 of this Bill and the schedule to the Local Government Finance and Valuation Act 1991. The matter was similarly debated very fully in Committee in another place. In the course of those debates, the Government made it clear that the intention is to ensure that only properties that include living accommodation should be subject to the council tax. Garages, storage premises, yards, gardens and such like, which under rating were hereditaments in their own right, should not be chargeable dwellings.

Amendment No. 1 puts it beyond doubt that the same should apply to any composite hereditament that does not include living accommodation. The amendments specifically exclude from the definition of a dwelling any composite hereditament which is only a composite by virtue of the fact that it includes a domestic garage, storage premises, yard, garden or other domestic property that is not living accommodation. Amendment No. 2 is consequential.

Composite properties will quite properly be subject to both non-domestic rates and the council tax. Valuation for each will take account only of non-domestic and domestic uses as appropriate and will achieve a fair balance between the two taxes. If the balance of use of a composite changes or, more significantly, it becomes or ceases to be a composite hereditament, its valuation for non-domestic rating may change. The amendments give the potential for a corresponding change in valuation for the council tax. I commend them to the House.

Question put and agreed to.—[Special Entry.]

Lords amendment: No. 3, in page 2, line 43, leave out ("or substitute another definition for")

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Nicholas Bennett)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

The amendment limits the Secretary of State's power to change the definition of a dwelling on the face of the Bill by order. The Bill originally permitted the Secretary of State to substitute or amend the definition. The amendment takes away the power to substitute the definition of dwelling by order.

Question put and agreed to.

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