§ Mr. Whittingdale
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what response was received to the consultation paper on proposed changes in the treatment of granny annexes and similar self-contained units of accommodation when they form part of a larger property. 
§ Mr. Gummer
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I proposed changing the ways in which council tax is assessed for self-contained units of accommodation when they form part of a larger property. We consulted with local authorities and organisations representing the elderly and disabled. The list of responses received has been placed in the Library of the House. The responses were overwhelmingly positive. We have accepted the views of many respondents that our objectives can be achieved more simply by means of an exemption.
We now propose that from 1 April 1997 any part of a property, such as an annexe, which is occupied by a dependent relative of the family in the other part of the building, will be an exempt dwelling, where "dependent" means:
and "relative" means: spouse, parent, grandparent, child, stepchild, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece, or the parent or child of such a relative, including a relationship by marriage and of the half-blood.
- (a) aged 65 years or more,
- (b) severely mentally impaired within the meaning given in paragraph 2 of schedule 1 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992, or
- (c) substantially and permanently disabled (whether by illness injury, congenital deformity or otherwise).
These changes will apply in England and in Wales.