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Valuation Appeal Committees

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take power to direct valuation appeal committees, sitting in Scottish island areas, to make special arrangements to ensure that people are not forced to abandon appeals by reason of travel and lodging expenses and other factors of difficulty in those areas.

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend regrets that he would not feel justified in asking Parliament to give him power to direct valuation appeal committees on any aspect of their work.

In view of the fact that 90 per cent, of the appeals in the Western Isles had to be abandoned because of exactly these factors which I have mentioned and that that would not have happened had there been decentralisation of the committees, what steps does the Minister propose to take to ensure, first, that the committees work, and, secondly, that justice is done to the people?

As I said in my Answer, my right hon. Friend does not feel that he would be justified in asking Parliament to give him powers to direct valuation appeal committees; because, from the local knowledge that they have, they would presumably choose a place which is most suited—as, indeed, they are required to do in the original Valuation Act.

Has the Minister no proposals at all to make sure that appeals are in fact heard? When 90 per cent, of the appeals have had to be abandoned, surely some alternative procedure has to be devised of one kind or another in the interests of the working of the Act. In view of the fact that there is a Bill coming before the Scottish Committee in which he can make this provision, why does not he put that into the Bill now?