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Volume 888: debated on Friday 21 March 1975

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My hon. Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Baker) and I have the honour to present a petition signed by the ratepayers of the city of Westminster, to the effect that the burden of rates imposed upon them by the Greater London Council, which is Labour-controlled, and the Inner London Education Authority, which is also Labour-controlled, has become intolerable.

You will be aware, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the Secretary of State for the Environment has said that the average increase in rates in the country this year will be about 25 per cent. Because of the intolerable increases imposed by those two local authorities the increase in the city of Westminster is well over 50 per cent.

Therefore, the humble petitioners from the city of Westminster, represented by my hon. Friend and myself, plead with the House to ease the burden of rates immediately and to institute a far-reaching reform in order that the whole rating system may be replaced, so that a more equitable and broadly-based system of local government finance may be introduced.

We regard this as a matter of urgency in order to prevent the city of London from being depopulated like the city of New York.

To lie upon the Table.