§ Mr. David Nicholson
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to ensure that there is effective co-ordination of the impact on single person households of national taxation, local government taxation, and the various systems used for charging for public utilities.
§ Mr. Portillo
The Government take all relevant factors into account in making decisions on the level and structure of national taxation and on the local authority settlement. Council tax bills are set by local authorities, but legislation provides for a discount of 25 per cent. for single person households and for the payment of council tax benefit to those in need. Systems of charging for utilities are of course a matter for the private companies which now run them, subject to regulation by the appropriate regulatory body.