Mr. Ron Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has received from amateur sport clubs about rates; and if he will make a statememt.
§ Mr. Ancram
Over 100 representations about rates have been received this year from or on behalf of amateur sports clubs. The Government are concerned that rates bills are a present source of anxiety, but we consider that in the longer term sports clubs will benefit from the proposals for rates reform outlined in the Green Paper "Paying for Local Government" (Cmnd. 9714), including harmonisation of Scottish and English valuation practice. For the shorter term, as my right hon. and learned Friend reminded the House on 23 July 1986 following his statement about rate support grant at column358, rating authorities have discretion to reduce up to 100 per cent. of the rates payable by sports clubs. The total contribution from the national taxpayer to local authorities in the rate support grant settlement for 1987–88 leaves authorities plenty of scope to exercise that discretion.