HL Deb 27 November 1995 vol 567 c507

6.12 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (The Earl of Lindsay) rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 16th November be approved [First Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I beg to move. I shall also speak to the Docks and Harbours (Rateable Values)(Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Order 1995.

The two draft orders before the House tonight relate to the valuation for rating of very specific classes of lands and heritages in Scotland. The draft amendment order relating to docks and harbours simply corrects a defect in an earlier amendment order so as to ensure that provisions previously agreed can in fact be implemented with effect from 1st April 1995.

The separate draft order relating to Scottish water undertakings simply updates existing provisions to take account of the forthcoming restructuring taking place with effect from 1st April 1996. It provides for the rateable value of the operational lands and heritages of the new water authorities on the same basis as for their predecessors. It neither increases nor decreases the valuations compared to those applying to the predecessor authorities.

Both draft orders follow a well-precedented pattern and I therefore propose to expand on the detailed provisions only if there are points of concern to those noble Lords who are present. I commend both draft orders to the House.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 16th November be approved [First Report from the Joint Committee].—(The Earl of Lindsay.)

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for explaining the background to the order. I have only one point to raise with him, though he may not be in a position to answer immediately. What effect will this order have on the local authorities in regard to rates? It is rather a large question. I received rather late in the day a question from local authorities as to whether this will cause substantial change. From the Minister's remarks it seems that there will be no change, and I shall be quite happy with that. Perhaps he will check and write to me letting me know whether he has received any representations from local authorities on any finer points. I have received only letters expressing general satisfaction on the main point of the orders.

The Earl of Lindsay

My Lords, as I understand it, there will be no net effects on local authorities. Indeed, the orders were subject to very full consultation with all the affected parties, including CoSLA. If I feel that I have in any way misled the noble Lord with that reply, I shall write to him later. It is widely felt that there will be no net effect on any of the parties involved.

On Question, Motion agreed to.