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Rating System (Committee)

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1943

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4 and 5.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether the question of rating of site values is included in the terms of reference to the Committee which he has appointed to inquire into rating problems in Scotland; and, if not, will he reconsider the terms so as to include such a reference;

(2) the terms of reference on which he proposes to ask a Committee to inquire into rating problems in Scotland; and whether he can give the names of that Committee?

I announced the terms of reference to this Committee in the House on 24th February during the Second Reading Debate on the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Bill. I am sending to my hon. Friend a copy of the statement I then made. The purpose of the inquiry is to examine only very limited aspects of the Scots rating system. The membership of the Committee is at present under consideration.

In view of my right hon. Friend's well-known support in the past for the rating of site values, does not he agree that there is now a favourable opportunity to include this in the terms of reference of the Committee, and why has he not done so?

It is very obvious that within the terms of a Hydro-Electric Bill it would be impossible to amend the whole of the rating system.

Do the terms of reference include an inquiry into what seems to an Englishman to be the odd practice of requiring that houses shall be deroofed before the owner can be let off rates?

Did not the Secretary of State indicate in his speech that the terms of reference would be wider?

The exact terms which the right hon. Gentleman used and the terms he is using now are contradictory.