§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what further changes he proposes to make to alleviate the impact of the community charge on poorer families and pensioners.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
The community charge benefit scheme is already helping those on lower incomes. This scheme is much more generous than the former rates rebate scheme and over 1 million people in Scotland are paying a reduced community charge as a result. The extension of the community charge relief scheme which my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland announced on 19 July means that many more former ratepayers, pensioners and disabled people will receive help with their bills and over a longer period.