§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about the current rating system; and what proposals the Government intend to put forward to spread the burden of local expenditure upon all residents within an authority area in accordance with their ability to pay.
§ Mr. Ward
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will bring forward proposals to change the rating system to ensure that the beneficiaries of local government expenditure pay in relation to their use of services and their capacity to pay and that those on fixed incomes and the elderly are protected.
§ Mr. King
I have received a number of representations and I am of course aware of the problems posed by the current rating system. However, we said in our election manifesto that cutting income tax must take priority for the time being over any major initiative on domestic rates, and we are considering what possibilities there are for modifying the rating system in the meantime.