§ Mr. Dewar
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the cost of(a) administering the (i) domestic and (ii) domestic and non-domestic rate rebate system in Scotland in 1987–88, (b) administering the poll tax rebate system in Scotland in 1989–90 and (c) administering the poll tax transitional relief scheme in Scotland in 1989–90 and 1990–91.
§ Mr. Rifkind
No information is held centrally on the cost of administering non-domestic rate rebates in 1987–88. Neither is it possible to distinguish between the costs for administering domestic rate rebates and those for rent rebates and rent allowances from the information which is submitted by local authorities. The total cost of housing benefit administration in 1987–88 was £15.3 873W million. Similarly, it is not possible to separate community charge rebates from the other elements of housing benefit administration in 1989–90, but the local authorities' estimate of the total cost is £21.7 million. The cost of administering the proposed personal community charge transitional relief scheme in 1989–90 and 1990–91 has not yet been established.
§ Mr. Dewar
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the Government's most recent estimate of the(a) capital expenditure, (b) revenue costs and (c) extra staff employed by local authorities in connection with the establishment and maintenance of the poll tax register and with the administration and collection of the poll tax and poll tax rebate system in Scotland for 1988–89 and 1989–90.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Information on actual capital expenditure is not yet available centrally for 1988–89 or 1989–90 in respect of establishment and maintenance of the community charge system in Scotland. However, in order to assist local authorities in preparing for the introduction of the community charge, additional capital allocations were provided in 1987–88 and 1988–89 totalling £26 million. The administrative cost of community charge collection for Scotland in 1989–90 is estimated by local authorities at £23.3 million and the cost of registration work is estimated at £8.5 million. These figures are exclusive of the costs of operating the community charge rebate system. These costs are offset by the savings which local authorities made by no longer having to value domestic properties or collect domestic rates.
It is not possible from the information collected to separate local authority expenditure on the administration of community charge rebates from that incurred on other housing benefits but local authorities have estimated the cost of administering housing benefits as a whole at £15.9 million in 1988–89 and £21.7 million in 1989–90.
No information is held centrally on the number of staff employed by authorities on community charge work. The organisational arrangements for community charge collection are entirely a matter for the local authorities themselves.