HC Deb 01 July 1997 vol 297 cc97-8
8. Mr. Sanders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will review the property values represented by the individual bands for council tax purposes. [4671]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Mr. Nick Raynsford)

We want to discuss whether any changes should be made to the structure of the council tax valuation bands with local government associations and others before reaching a view. Any changes that might be proposed will be the subject of widespread consultation.

Mr. Sanders

May I put in a plea for those who reside in mobile homes and come in the bottom band of council tax? The value of their homes is half the value of their council tax band. I invite the Minister to consider whether that situation should continue.

Mr. Raynsford

We recognise that all dwellings, including caravans and mobile homes, are banded according to their open market value. Many caravans and mobile homes come at the bottom of band A. Some occupiers of such homes feel a genuine sense of grievance. However, changes to the bands are a complex issue that raises problems that go wider than any individual group. We are considering the issue, but I hope that the hon. Gentleman accepts that it must be considered in the round with all the other factors. We should not move precipitately towards a change.

Mr. Pike

Does my hon. Friend recognise that in old industrial towns such as Burnley, where well over half the properties are in band A, there is a good case for changes and the introduction of at least one band lower than the current band A?

Mr. Raynsford

My hon. Friend raises a question about the proportion of properties in band A. The case for reconsideration of band A has been put forcefully by many commentators. Others have suggested reconsideration of some other bands. I repeat that the issue has considerable implications for the fairness of the council tax structure. Major changes in banding would involve the possibility of a revaluation. Careful consideration is needed before any decisions are reached.

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