§ Mr. Roy Hughes
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) if he is satisfied with the working of the rate rebate scheme for people in the lower income groups; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how many ratepayers have benefited as a result of the rate rebate scheme; and how this figure compares with the estimated number eligible for benefit;
(3) whether he is aware of the number of needy people who for various reasons are unable to obtain full benefit from the rate rebate scheme; and if he will take steps to amend the Act or issue instructions to local authorities to modify their interpretation of its provisions.
§ Mr. MacColl
The rate rebate scheme is on its way to achieving its purpose. It is estimated that the number of potential beneficiaries in England and Wales is 1⅔ million, and by the end of May 1¼ million applications had been made. It appears that many ratepayers, who pay rates together with their rent have not applied for rebates, and my right hon. Friend is arranging for early publicity to bring the scheme to their attention. He has no proposals for amending the scheme which is designed to reduce the regressiveness of rates, and not to supplement social service or other payments.