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Rating Reform

Volume 86: debated on Wednesday 13 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to announce the timetable for and scope of the reform of the Scottish rating system; and if he will make a statement.

We are looking carefully at the whole system of local government finance, including rating. A consultative document setting out the Government's proposals will be published at around the turn of the year.

Is the Minister aware that his answer does nothing to stop the further disenchantment with his party in Scotland, nor the feeling of betrayal at the absence of any mention of rating reform in the Queen's Speech? Will the hon. Gentleman come clean and tell us that he has absolutely no idea what to do about rating reform—this year, next year, sometime, never?

The hon. Gentleman should not be so hopeful. We realise that it is not in the interests of the Labour party that there should be reform of the rating system, which suits the overspending authorities controlled by Labour. Had there been an announcement about legislation on rating in the Queen's Speech before the production of the Green Paper, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would have been the first to criticise us for doing so.