§ Mr. Thornton
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to take any special measures to compensate those local authorities in England whose rate income may be affected by the low levels of coal production during the miners' strike.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
The rateable value of National Coal Board mine properties is governed by a formula which depends on coal production in previous years. Local authorities in some mining areas will see a sharp reduction in NCB rateable values in 1986–87 as a consequence of the fall in production in 1984–85.
I have considered carefully whether any special measures to offset this reduction are warranted. In most cases, NCB properties represent only a small fraction of the rateable value in the area and I have concluded that there should be no special treatment. The normal equalizing effect of the block grant system will in 1987–88 compensate such authorities for the fall in rateable values. By making an announcement this early, I am giving authorities affected plenty of advance notice.