HC Deb 16 November 1987 vol 122 cc417-9W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the number of poorer households, with an income of less than £75 per week, after taxes, referred to in the document "Paying for local Government — The Need for Change", how many of these households are single-adult households; how many of them occupy properties with above average rateable value; what is the average rateable value referred to in the document; how many of these households receive rate relief at present; what is the current contribution of the highest paid 10 per cent. to domestic rates relative to the lowest paid 10 per cent. of households; and what this figure is as a percentage of their respective incomes; and what has been the total cost so far of the production of general publicity material concerning the community charge.

Mr. Howard

Based on data from the family expenditure survey in 1985–86 prices, I estimate that 18 per cent. of households in England had an income after tax of less than £75 per week; 82 per cent. of these are single adult households and 22 per cent. occupy property with above average rateable value of the sample — £193. It is estimated that 82 per cent. would be entitled to rate rebates under the arrangements to come into effect from 1 April 1988.

In respect of the other matters referred to, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on Thursday 12 November 1987 and to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) on 29 October.

Mr. Dobson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the types of hostel residents which will be made exempt from the community charge.

Mr. Howard

The exemption will apply to residents of hostels which provide accommodation and care to a professional standard, the cost of which is passed on to the residents as an addition to the rent.

Mr. O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he intends to include parish and town councils in the distribution of resources to local government from the national uniform business rate; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Howard

Proposals for the payment of grants and non-domestic rate were published on 23 September. Under those proposals grant and non-domestic rate income together with income from the community charge will be paid into a collection fund from which the funding requirements of all the local authorities in an area, including parish and town councils, will be met.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish details of his proposals for dealing with appeals against non-domestic rateable values and appeals arising from decisions in relation to the community charge following reform of the rating system.

Mr. Howard

I have published a booklet entitled "Appeals and Valuation and Community Charge Tribunals", which sets out the broad outline of our proposals for appeals. Copies of the booklet have been sent to interested parties and have been placed in the Library. The canvas for and compilation of the community charges register will give rise to certain rights of appeal. It is proposed that such appeals will be determined by local valuation courts, whose current remit to determine rating appeals will be extended. In recognition of their new role, the courts will be renamed valuation and community charge tribunals.

The booklet sets out the Government's proposals for the procedures for making and determining community charge appeals and for the constitution and procedures of the new tribunals.

Mr. Ron Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether Her Majesty's Government's proposals for a new business rate will apply to farm businesses; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Howard

[holding answer 12 November 1987.]: Yes. Those parts of a farm business which are currently liable to pay non-domestic rates will continue to do so at the level of the national non-domestic rate from 1990.