§ Dr. Bray
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) pursuant to the letter from Mr. N. D. MacLennan of the Scottish Office development department to Mr. Alan Patterson, of the Wishaw Business Group dated 3 July, under what powers central Government bears three quarters of the cost of relief from rates on grounds of hardship granted by rating authorities under section 156 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994; and what has been the cost to central Government of doing so; 
(2)which rating authorities have used their powers to remit payment of rates on grounds of hardship under section 156 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994; 
(3) what steps have been taken to inform small businesses and rating authorities of the powers under section 156 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994 to grant remission from non-domestic rates on grounds of hardship. 
§ Mr. Kynoch
The cost of any relief borne by local authorities under section 156 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 is borne in the ratio 25:75, by local authorities and central Government respectively, in accordance with regulations made under schedule 12 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992. Figures are not yet available on the cost to central Government or the numbers of authorities granting relief under this provision which was introduced with effect from 1 April 1995. All local authorities were informed of the commencement of this provision by circular on 12 January 1995.