§ Sir Barney Hayhoe
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the 20 local authorities in England which will gain the most and the 20 which will lose the most on cash terms, as the basis of his proposals for a unified business rate.
§ Mr. Howard
In principle, the present grant arrangements remove the benefit of high rateable value from local authorities by making corresponding reduction in grant entitlements. Under our proposals for grant in the new system, grant per adult will vary between authorities only in so far as authorities' expenditure needs vary. A simple comparison of non-domestic rate income to authorities before and after introduction of a uniform business rate would be misleading in not allowing for the different grant effects.
§ Mr. Allen
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from the National League for the Blind and Disabled regarding the Local Government Bill; and if he will make a statement.
§ Ms. Richardson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consult women's organisations with regard to the particular effect of the proposed community charge upon women; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Howard
We engaged in a major consultation exercise on all aspects of our proposals after we published the Green Paper "Paying for Local Government", Cmnd. 9714. Women's organisations have had ample opportunity to make representations, both during and after the formal consultation period and several have done so. My officials have, for example, had a recent meeting with representatives of Women's Aid organisations. I announced the outcome of those discussions in the answer I gave yesterday to my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman).