HL Deb 25 March 1963 vol 248 cc1-3

My Lords, I beg to move that the National Coal Board (Valuation) Order, 1963, be approved. Valuation for rating offers particular difficulties in the case of nationalised industries and public utilities, and formula methods have already been laid down by Statute for gas, electricity and statutory water undertakings. Section 3 of the Rating and Valuation Act, 1961, empowers the Minister of Housing and Local Government to specify by order methods of valuing certain classes of property. This order, which is the first to be made under these powers, relates to property occupied by the National Coal Board in England and Wales in connection with coal production.

The order takes effect on April 1, when new valuation lists come into force and the values in those lists have been ascertained accordingly. The new scheme starts from the rateable values in the present lists—that is to say, the 1956 lists. These existing values are to be adjusted to take account of changes in coal production since these values were fixed, and of other matters, such as the Board's additional liability for compensation for subsidence damage imposed by an Act of 1957, industrial re-rating and the rise in rental values between 1956 and 1963. In future, the values of mines and opencast coal sites will be varied each year for changes in coal output, and at each revaluation, every five years, these values will be adjusted to reflect the general change in the level of rateable values among mineral industries, so that the National Coal Board keeps in step with other ratepayers of the same class.

The Order has been prepared in consultation with the National Coal Board, with the associations of local authorities and with the London County Council, as required by the Act of 1961, and the scheme commands their support. A review of the scheme's working has to be carried out, under Section 3, in 1968–69 and a report laid before Parliament, so that, if anything should go wrong or should prove to be a miscalculation, correction can be made after a trial run. I ask your Lordships to approve this Order.

Moved, That the National Coal Board (Valuation) Order, 1963, be approved.—(Lord Hastings.)


My Lords, as coal mines are to be rerated on the output year by year, may I ask the noble Lord whether the same theory and practice will apply to other industries: that annually they will have a re-rating on the basis of output, whether it is up or down?


My Lords, if the noble Lord is referring to private industries, the answer is, No. This Order deals with nationalised industries, and, as I said, there are formula methods for some of them. Section 3 of the Act of 1961, which empowers the Minister to specify by order certain classes of property, can apply also to other things like mines and quarries and, I believe, to radiodiffusion. That may be dealt with in due course, but not in respect of the present revaluations.


My Lords, would the noble Lord tell the House why there is a distinction between socialised industries and privately owned industries? What is the difference of procedure, and what is the reason for it? Secondly, the noble Lord was good enough to tell us that the local authority associations and the London County Council have been consulted. May I ask him whether they are in agreement with the Order as proposed?


My Lords, the answer to the last question is that they are in agreement and are quite happy about it. So far as the other question is concerned, I would say that the coal industry always has been revalued year by year on output. The direct rental value of factories is not directly related to output. They go under the 1925 Act, which refers to rental values and is the general system in force. There are only these few exceptions.

Question, Motion agreed to.