§ Mr. Raffan
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has considered the responses which he has received to the Green Paper "Paying for Local Government".
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards
I am placing in the Library a summary of the 118 responses received in Wales to "Paying for Local Government". It is clear that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the present domestic rating system and that a fundamental reform is needed. More than twice as many private individuals were in favour of the proposed community charge as opposed it, and no other possible alternative to rates received substantial support. Although both the Welsh Counties Committee and the Committee of Welsh District Councils have rejected the proposals, they too have acknowledged the need for change but have expressed preferences for two362W totally different and incompatible alternatives, neither of which would properly and fully meet the Government's objective of achieving greater accountability. Most business respondents, including the CBI (Wales), were in favour of the proposal for a unified non-domestic rate poundage. There was also considerable support for a simplification of the present grant system.
The Government plan to introduce legislation as soon as practicable to implement in Wales and England the main proposals in the Green Paper, with the intention that the new system should start in 1990.
I am grateful to all those who took the trouble to respond to the Green Paper. Many of them were concerned about the practical problems of operating the community charge. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I have today produced a document with detailed proposals for implementing the charge and a copy is being placed in the Library.