HL Deb 20 January 1959 vol 213 cc608-10WA

asked Her Majesty's Government

(1) whether they are aware that by the Local Government Act, 1958, the system of rating electricity boards in England and Wales is established on a basis very much fairer to the local authorities concerned than is the case with Scottish local authorities at the present time; and whether they will investigate the position, with a view to taking the necessary steps to remedy the injustice now suffered by those Scottish local authorities who are unable to obtain reasonable rates, especially from the more recently constructed hydroelectric enterprises;

(2) whether they are aware that the Local Government Act of 1948 expunged from the Valuation Roll the valuation of electricity undertakings, thereby decreasing the valuation of Perth County landward by a sum of £91,222, as from the 16th May, 1948, with the result that Perth County received only £10,513 from the "pool" set up under the Act, instead of the £47,131 they would have received troni the rate levy of 10s. 4d. in the pound; whether they are further aware that the rate of growth of hydro-electric development in Perthshire since 1948 has been on such a large scale that on the former method of rating the County would be now receiving an income high enough to make its present share from the "pool" derisory; and whether they will consider taking the necessary legislative steps to end, or at least reduce, this unfair anomaly.


I am aware that the Local Government Act, 1948, altered the basis on which contributions are made by the electricity boards to the revenues of local authorities, that this adversely affected the amount received by certain authorities from this source and that in England and Wales these arrangements will be replaced by a system of direct rate payments by electricity boards on the 1st April, 1959, as provided in the English Act of 1958. My right honourable friend, the Secretary of State, has agreed with the local authority associations and the Scottish electricity boards that in Scotland the arrangements under the Act of 1948 should be reviewed after the revaluation in 1961.

House adjourned at twenty-five minutes before six o'clock.