§ Mr. O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether guidance will be issued to local authorities on the amount of community charge to be levied on prisoners who lived alone before entering prison.
§ Mr. Chope
Charging authorities have discretion to specify classes of property for the purposes of the standard charge. In doing so they may have regard to a number of factors, including the circumstances of the person subject to the charge. If they wish, they may therefore specify a class of property to include property unoccupied because the owner is in prison. Guidance explaining this has been sent to charging authorities, but it is for individual authorities to decide whether to specify such a class, and, if they do, what rate of standard charge to levy.