HC Deb 23 January 1997 vol 288 cc1144-5
Mr. Clappison

I beg to move amendment No. 35, in page 24, line 9, at end insert— 'Local Government (Financial Provisions etc.) (Scotland) Act 1962 (c.9) . In section 4 of the Local Government (Financial Provisions etc.) (Scotland) Act 1962 (reduction and remission of rates)—

  1. (a) in subsection (5) for "the following subsection" there is substituted "subsection (6) or, as the case may be, (6A) of this section",
  2. (b) in subsection (6) for "the following subsection" there is substituted "subsection (7) of this section", and
  3. (c) after subsection (6) there is inserted—
(6A) Without prejudice to subsection (6) of this section, where any reduction or remission of rates is determined under subsection (5) of this section in the first six months of a year, the reduction or remission may be granted—
  1. (a) for the preceding year;
  2. (b) for a specified term of years, not exceeding five, beginning not earlier than the preceding year nor more than twenty four months after the date of the determination;
  3. (c) for an indefinite period beginning not earlier than the preceding year, subject to the exercise by the rating authority of their powers under subsection (7) of this section.".'.

Madam Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss also Government amendment No. 36.

Mr. Clappison

The purpose of the amendment is to give local authorities greater flexibility at the end of the financial year to deal with certain cases where otherwise injustices would arise as a result of the year coming to an end and not working with council procedures.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 36, in page 27, line 28, at end insert—

'. In section 47(7) (discretionary relief), after "made" there is inserted "more than six months".'.—[Mr. Clappison.] Order for Third Reading read.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Queen's consent? I shall suspend the sitting for five minutes owing to a technicality.

Sitting suspended.

8.41 pm

On resuming

Queen's Consent, on behalf of the Crown, and Prince of Wales's Consent, on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall, signified.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Mr. Bendel

I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak briefly on Third Reading. We discussed subsidiarity earlier this evening, but there is one aspect about which, for various reasons, we have not spoken.

We failed to get across the point about whether discretionary or mandatory relief should be given, and the point about the powers of parish councils. It is sad that the Bill afforded yet another opportunity that was not taken up by the Government: the chance for London boroughs to have parish councils.

Since the matter was raised in Committee, there has been a great increase in interest in whether London boroughs should be allowed to have parish councils. A number of campaigns have begun, and it was reported in the Evening Standard that many Labour councillors in London support the idea, although their party did not support the relevant amendment in Committee.

I hope that the amendment will be moved in the House of Lords, as that is now the only chance of its being including in the Bill. That is a strong possibility. The matter was raised once before in this House—a Bill on London parish councils was introduced about 20 years ago. Its purpose was to make changes in the administration of local government in Greater London by the establishment of London parish councils. The Bill was presented by the then hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam, Mr. Graham Tope, now Lord Tope. Among the Bill's supporters was the right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer). I should be interested to know whether he still supports the principle.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.