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Rating Reform

Volume 130: debated on Monday 21 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give estimates for the total number of adults expected to register for community charge in England and Wales.

I estimate that there are 38ยท3 million adults in England and Wales. About half a million of these are expected to be exempt from the community charge. As I said in my reply of 16 March to the hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) at column 82, I do not believe that evasion will be a serious problem.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will reconsider joint and several liability of spouses in respect of the proposed community charge, in the light of the planned changes to the income tax status of married women from 1 April 1990.

No. The changes to which the hon. Member refers will affect married women with incomes. Joint and several liability for the community charge is designed to ensure that the charge is paid where a person (man or woman) has no income of his or her own and is married to or living with a person who has an income.