§ Mrs. Ewing
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what date Her Majesty's Government first decided that there should be a Scottish unified business rate; and to whom this policy was first announced.
§ Mr. Stewart
The Government's unified business rates policy was first announced by my right hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) in a speech to the Scottish Young Business Group in Glasgow on 8 May 1989. Powers were subsequently taken in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 to enable my right hon. Friend to prescribe non-domestic rate poundages for each Scottish local authority from 1990–91 onwards with the intention of reducing poundages progressively to the level of the national non-domestic rate in England.