HC Deb 09 November 1987 vol 122 cc13-4W
Dr. Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to change the method of pay negotiations for other groups of local government employees following the publication of "Teachers Pay and Conditions", Cm. 238.

Mr. Ridley


Mr. Rooker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in the light of the age limits laid down in the supplementary benefit rules, his proposed rebate for poll tax will differentiate between people aged 18 to 25 years and people over 25 years earning the same wage and paying the same poll tax.

Mr. Scott

I have been asked to reply.

We expect community charge rebate to be provided through the housing benefit scheme, which from 1 April 1988 will assess needs on largely the same basis as the new income support scheme. The final details, however, have yet to be decided and will be the subject of consultation with the representatives of local authorities.

Mr. Rooker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many households will experience an increase of(a) 50 per cent. or more and (b) 80 per cent. or more in local tax bills under the poll tax proposals; and what proportion these numbers are of those in England.

Mr. Howard

[holding answer 5 November 1987]: If local authorities continue to spend at present levels until the community charge is fully in place, then I estimate that 3.3 million households (19 per cent.) would face a one-off increase of more than 50 per cent. in their combined household bills; 2.2 million (12 per cent.) would face an increase of 80 per cent. or more. This outcome need not arise at all providing local authorities start now to reduce expenditure. There and signs that many of even the highest spending authorities are starting to do so. In order to allow both local authorities and households time to adjust to the new regime we will be proposing transitional arrangements to moderate the rate of change.

Dr. Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library copies of work undertaken since the publication of the White Paper "Rates", Cmnd. 9008, on applying to domestic properties valuation for rating purposes based on capital values.

Mr. Ridley

[holding answer 2 November 1987]: A note on the effect of capital value rates was placed in the Library by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) on 23 July 1986. I have today placed in the Library a revised version of that note incorporating later house price information.

The conclusions are broadly unchanged. (i) Because house prices vary more widely between regions than either existing rateable values or incomes, rates based on capital values would be even less well related to the ability to pay. (ii) The effects would be different for different types of housing. Terraced houses on average would face increases everywhere except the midlands and the north-west. There would be 30 per cent. increases on average for detached houses in the south-east. (iii) Some individual occupiers would face very large changes in liability. Nearly 15 per cent. of households would have had increases of more than 50 per cent. and 5 per cent. would have bills which had doubled had the change taken place at the end of 1986.

The note also shows that there are large changes in relative capital values on a cyclical basis so that were there to be regular revaluations on a capital basis, there would also be regular large changes in rate bills.

Capital value rates would, therefore, be more unfair, and more unstable than the present rating system. They would lead to large changes in household rate bills unrelated to the use of local services or ability to pay. They would do nothing to alter the fundamental weakness of accountability which exists under the present system and which our proposals specifically address.