HC Deb 14 February 1990 vol 167 cc220-2W
Mr. David Nicholson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates he has made of the percentage of persons listed on community charge registers who will fail to pay the charge in 1990–91 for English shire counties; and what guidance he has issued to local authorities as to the estimates they should make for default when deciding on the amount of charge to meet their planned expenditure.

Mr. Chope

The Department has made no estimates of the proportion of charge payers who may fail to pay community charges and sees no need to offer advice on this to charging authorities. We have issued practice notes on steps that charging authorities may take to minimise arrears, and more flexible instalment regimes and improved powers of enforcement should improve authorities' ability to obtain arrears compared with that under the domestic rating system.

Mr. David Nicholson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the totals of spending in 1990–91 by(a) Somerset county council and (b) Taunton Deane borough council assumed for the purposes of his calculations of illustrative combined capital value rates and local income tax published on 6 November 1989.

Mr. Chope

The assumed spending was the same as that used for the provisional assumed charges also published on 6 November.

The assumed spending figures for 1990–91 were:

£ million
Somerset county council 222.367
Taunton Deane borough council 4.306

Mr. Nellist

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East on 6 February,Official Report, columns 582–83, if he will list all departmental circulars, excluding practice notes, issued by his Department in connection with the community charge, giving in each case, the date of issue and an outline of the contents; and if he will indicate whether copies of such have been placed in the Library.

Mr. Chope

[holding answer 13 February 1990]: No numbered departmental circulars have been issued about the community charge. A number of letters have been sent to all charging authorities. These are as follows:

Date of issue Contents
25 July Community charge costs: Price Waterhouse study
5 August Local Government Finance Act
15 December Community charge regulations: Valuation and Community Charge Tribunals
16 December Community charge preparation costs
31 January Community charge students regulations
31 January Implementation of the community charge
28 February Community charge implementation and minority language translations
17 March Implementation of rates reform
3 May Implementation of the community charge and NNDR: questionnaire
5 May Leaflet: "The community charge (the so-called Poll Tax): how it will work for you"
5 May Payment of specific grant for community charge
10 May United Kingdom service personnel
10 August Community charge registration and data protection
18 September Amendments to practice notes
11 October Safety net and transitional relief
13 October Payment of specific grant for community charge preparation
20 October Community charge transitional relief
20 October Community charge bill
26 October Amendments to practice notes
3 November Exemption for those severely mentally impaired
9 November Community charge transitional relief
16 November Local Government and Housing Act 1989: amendments to Local Government Finance Act
22 November Transitional relief scheme—details
15 December Community charge bill—details
28 December Community charge: amendments to practice notes
10 January Community charge transitional relief regulations
9 February Designation of Ministry of Defence Establishments

Details of those letters amending practice notes are placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will provide comparable figures to his November estimate of the amount of poll tax payable in 1990–91 per adult as against rates for each region and each metropolitan area and county council.

Mr. Chope

The information requested has been placed in the Library. The figures are consistent with the assumed charges published on 11 January.

Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria he proposes to use to charge-cap those authorities whose proposed community charge is unacceptably high; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope

I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol North-West (Mr. Stern) on 17 January,Official Report, columns 252–3.

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