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Rating System (Comprehensive Review)

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1965

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22.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government on what date he will announce his proposals for a comprehensive review of the rating system; and from what dates these proposals will take effect.

The Rating Bill embodies the first instalment of the Government's proposals. I expect to announce the remainder early next year.

As it seems so easy for the Minister to make a general criticism of the rating system without giving detailed proposals, may I ask him to assure the House that it is his intention to bring these detailed proposals to the House before the next General Election?

We shall bring them before the House. I hope that the Bill will be before the House in the spring. We are now having discussions with the treasurers before finalising our proposals on the reorganisation of the grant system.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his sentiments against such regressive taxes as rates have been widely welcomed in the country and by people of all persuasions?

Has the Minister given serious consideration to proposals for a system based upon rating and taxation of site values? Further, will he at least consider a survey in an industrial area similar to the one which took place at Whitstable?

We are certainly willing to consider the possibility, although I doubt whether another survey would be valuable. The hon. Member should study the proposals for the Land Commission and, perhaps, the Committee stage of the Bill before he makes up his mind whether site value taxation has been replaced by betterment tax as a desirable method.