§ Mr. Bernie Grant
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many appeals against the uniform business rate have been lodged in the areas covering the parliamentary constituencies of(a) Hornsey and Wood Green and (b) Tottenham.
§ Mr. Gregory
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to increase the staffing of 63W the North Yorkshire valuation and community charge tribunal, in order that appeals concerning the uniform business rate may be heard within six months of their submission; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Key
Ratepayers had six months from 1 April 1990 in which to make proposals to alter their 1990 rating assessments and valuation officers then had a further six months to settle the proposal before the matter became an appeal. Most proposals have only recently become appeals to the tribunals. The North Yorkshire valuation and community charge tribunal has 9,800 appeals outstanding. Staffing and other administrative arrangements of tribunals have been improved to enable the caseload to be dealt with, and staffing levels are being further reviewed. Tribunals will generally give priority to hardship cases and to the more significant appeals, with a view to establishing quickly benchmarks which should allow settlements pag p 31between valuation officers and ratepayers without the need in all cases for a tribunal hearing. Complex cases may take longer and it would not necessarily be in the ratepayers' best interests for these to be rushed.