HL Deb 15 December 1986 vol 483 c93WA
Lord Nugent of Guildford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are able to make a further statement about the outcome of consultations on the Green Paper Paying for Local Government.

Lord Skelmersdale

There were 1,217 responses to the Green Paper in England. Though opinions varied, more than twice as many people wanted to abolish domestic rates as wanted to keep them. The community charge received considerably greater support than any other replacement for the rates. I have placed in the Library a summary of the responses received.

The rating system has been under review for too long. The time has come to decide, and to embark on reform. I therefore confirm the Government's intention to introduce legislation as soon as practicable and no later than the first Session of the next Parliament:

—to abolish domestic rates and introduce the community charge;

—to move to a uniform national non-domestic rate poundage;

—to simplify the system of Government grants to local authorities.

Many of those who responded to the Green Paper expressed concern about practical problems associated with the community charge. I believe that these worries are either overstated or can be overcome. I have therefore also placed in the Library a document which sets out how the community charge will work. The document deals with many of the practical questions that have been raised, and takes account of discussions with interested organisations held during the consultation period. There will be the opportunity for further discussion about the detailed arrangements before legislation is introduced.