§ Mr. McQuarrie
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation to compel local authorities in Scotland to consult representatives of small businesses prior to fixing a rate.
§ Mr. Ancram
Local authorities are already required by section 4 of the Rating and Valuation (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 1984 to consult bodies representative of non-domestic ratepayers prior to determining a rate. Further guidance is given in the code of practice issued by my Department on 4 July 1984. It would not be appropriate to decide centrally what particular bodies might or might not be representative of local small businesses in each authority's area, but I would expect the consultation process to include some representation from the small business sector.