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Volume 78: debated on Thursday 2 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the number of additional civil servants who would be required to implement a system of local income tax to replace the present domestic rating system, and the probable cost against the public expenditure budget in Scotland.

Chapter 6 of the December 1981 Green Paper "Alternatives to Domestic Rates" (Cmnd. 8449) made some estimates on various assumptions of the costs and manpower required to administer a local income tax. No more recent estimates are available to me, but I have no reason to believe the orders of magnitude will have changed substantially.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations he has received from commercial businesses in Scotland whose rateable value has increased by more than a factor of four; and if he will make a statement.

I have received quite a number of letters from commercial ratepayers in Scotland whose rate bills have very substantially increased following revaluation, but I cannot say how many of these had their rateable value multiplied by more than four.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will consider introducing measures to provide for the implementation of selective rates relief for all commercial businesses whose rates for 1984–85 have risen by more than a factor of four due to revaluation in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

There is at present no statutory machinery for giving such relief to commercial ratepayers. Nevertheless, the Government are concerned at the reported outcome of revaluation on a number of such ratepayers, and are currently involved in a ministerial review of the present system of financing local government.