§ Dr. Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what plans he has to commission management consultants to investigate the costs of collecting the community charge; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how much he plans to spend on research into the administration and collection of the community charge in (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ridley
Various estimates from different sources have emerged in recent months for the cost of preparing for and collecting the proposed community charge. My Department's forecasts have not changed. I am about to commission consultants to undertake a study of these costs, the reasons for the wide differences between authorities of similar size and factors which authorities should take into account in designing efficient new systems. The cost of this study, which will fall to be paid in 1988–89, will be up to £60,000.