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Rating Reform

Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what representations he has received regarding the liability of full-time volunteers for the community charge; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will make it his policy that full-time volunteers, such as community service volunteers, who have only a subsistence income and are not entitled to supplementary benefit, will not have to pay the full community charge.

I have received a number of representations about the liability of full-time volunteers for the community charge. Full-time volunteers will be eligible to apply for rebates of up to 80 per cent. of their community charge. Those with incomes equal to or below the level of income support will receive the maximum rebate.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish, for every London borough, metropolitan district and non-metropolitan district, the proportion of income which would be taken by the community charge in 1987–88 consistent with his figures of 17 November for community charges with no safety net, Official Report, column 484, single person with a gross income of (a) £3,000, (b) £4,000, (c) £5,000, (d) £7,500, (e) £10,000, (f) £15,000, (g) £20,000, (h) £30,000, (i) £50,000, and (j) £100,000, on the assumption in each case that the individual was not entitled to any social security support.

The proportion of gross income which would be taken, in each case, would be the community charge divided by gross income.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish, for every London borough, metropolitan district and non-metropolitan district, the proportion of income which would he taken by community charge in 1987–88 consistent with his figures of 17 November for community charges with no safety net, Official Report, column 484, for a married couple whose joint gross income was (a) £4,000, (b) £5,000, (c) £7,500, (d) £10,000, (e) £15,000, (f) £20,000, (g) £30,000, (h) £50,000, and (i) £100,000, on the assumption in each case that the couple were not entitled to any social security support.

The proportion of gross income which would be taken, in each case, would be two times the community charge divided by joint gross income.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the effect of a banded community charge for people with moderate incomes, as compared with a local income tax and Her Majesty's Government's proposal for a flat-rate community charge.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the pay, the banded charge bill, and the range of the Government's community charge for a third-year student nurse, a newly qualified nurse, a teacher with five years' experience, and an experienced police constable, with 15 years' experience respectively, in Cambridgeshire.

In moving Second Reading of the Local Government Finance Bill, my right hon. Friend set out the drawbacks we see in a handed community charge — including the likely effect on those on moderate incomes.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how his proposals to replace the commercial rate with a unified business rate will affect payments from the landlords of holiday flatlets.

Holiday flatlets are likely to be regarded as domestic property under clause 50 of the Local Government Finance Bill, which provides that property is domestic if it is used wholly for the purposes of living accommodation. They would not therefore he rated. Instead it is likely that the standard community charge would be payable under clause 3 of the Bill.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Repori the recent letter from the Data Protection Registrar concerning the community charge, and his response.

I have today placed in the Library copies of the Registrar's letter of 17 November and my response of 4 December.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what advice he will be giving to prisoners just before their release as to their responsibility to pay the community charge from their first day of freedom;(2) what advice he will be giving to homeless persons which describes their responsibility to pay the community charge.

There will be widespread publicity about the responsibility of every adult to register and pay for the community charge. We shall be considering with the local authority associations what advice needs to be given to specific groups of people about their liability.