§ 6.58 p.m.
§ Baroness BIRK rose to move, That the Electricity Boards (Rateable Values) Order 1976, laid before the House on 11th March, be approved. The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving the Electricity Boards (Rateable Values) Order 1976 on behalf of my noble friend Lady Stedman, may I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mowbray and Stourton, for the friendly and kind way in which he dealt with the previous order; I appreciate it very much.
§ The order before the House concerns all premises which are rated by formulae belonging to the thirteen Electricity Boards in England and Wales. In practice, this means all their property with the exception of shops and showrooms, together with any offices which are not situated on operational land. The thirteen Boards consist of twelve Area Boards, plus the Generating Board. The order before us today is a direct result of the general review of the formulae under which public utilities are rated. It has been drawn up after consultations with the industry, local authority associations and the Valuation Office of the Inland Revenue. The current formula is laid down in Schedule 7 to the General 843 Rate Act 1967, as amended by the Electricity Boards (Rateable Values) Order 1972.
§ The order before the House provides that the current provisions shall continue but with three amendments. First, the aggregate value of the Electricity Boards is to be increased to £175 million with effect from 1st April this year. This compares with a rateable value of about £160 million under the existing provisions for the 1975–76 rating year. Secondly, for future years it has been decided that the value for each Board will be adjusted annually to reflect expansion or contraction in the output of the industry. Although this continues the current practice, there are one or two changes in the way the adjustments are calculated. At present such adjustments are based on 20 per cent. of the difference between current output and output in 1957. However, as this is now so long ago it seems reasonable to choose a more recent date. Therefore, the base year will now be 1974. However, output in 1974 was much greater than in 1957, and this is the main reason why the increase sounds so large—from 20 per cent. to 45 per cent.
§ The final change concerns the distribution of the rateable value of the Generating Board to rating areas. At present one-half of the Board's total rateable value is apportioned among the rating areas on the basis of the proportion which the total rateable value in each rating area bears to the national total. The other half is apportioned among rating areas according to the capacity of generating stations in their area. However, it has been represented that this apportionment does not reflect the value of power stations. Therefore it has been decided that 75 per cent. of the Board's value should go to generation, and 25 per cent. to distribution. The way in which these parts are allocated to rating areas will remain unaltered.
§ The rest of the formula together with its attendant provisions remains unchanged, except for a few minor amendments to ensure that the new rateable values for 1976–77 will be calculated and notified to all interested parties during that year. As I mentioned earlier, my right honourable friend has consulted all 844 those affected. I therefore beg to move that this order be approved.
§ Moved, That the Electricity Boards (Rateable Values) Order 1976, laid before the House on 11th March, be approved.—(Baroness Birk.)
§ Lord MOWBRAY and STOURTON
My Lords, I merely wish to thank the noble Baroness. I have no questions to put.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.