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Rating Reform

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to the answer of 13 January, Official Report, column 278, he will give the total numbers of individuals gaining and losing on a regional basis from the poll tax, as derived from figures 6 and 9 of the accompanying note.

Estimates of gainers and losers can be made only for households or tax units. Estimates on both these bases and at regional level were contained in the figures published on 13 January.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the responses to the document entitled "Appeals and Valuation and Community Charge Tribunals", published by his Department on 10 November 1987.

We have received 122 responses to the consultation document. A summary of the views expressed has been placed in the Libraries of the House, together with copies of those responses where we have the respondents' permission to publish their views.The consultation document set out the Government's proposals for the constitution and procedures of valuation and community charge tribunals, which will replace local valuation courts and become the appellate body for both rating appeals and appeals arising from the community charge. The proposals were generally welcomed by respondents and will form the basis of regulations to be made under the provisions of the Local Government Finance Bill, following Royal Assent. These regulations will be the subject of further consultation.In the light of the responses to the consultation document, certain changes have been made to the proposals. In relation to the president of each tribunal, it had been proposed that he or she should be appointed by the Secretary of State. But the majority of respondents pointed out that the present system, whereby the chairman of the local valuation panel is elected by the members, has worked well and that there is no justification for change. The Government accept this view.The consultation document proposed that where two or more existing local valuation panels share a clerk and office, consideration should be given to amalgamating those panels under one president. In the light of the responses to the consultation document, the Government have accepted that such amalgamation should take place only with the agreement of the panels concerned.The proposal for limiting the number of serving councillors on any tribunal commanded general support. A number of respondents took the view that the ceiling of 50 per cent. of the membership was too high. In the light of this, the Government propose that the percentage of serving councillors should be reduced to 30 per cent. of the membership of any tribunal. The Government recognise, however, that some local valuation panels currently have a significantly greater proportion of serving councillors than this. There would be no benefit in terminating the appointment of a large number of experienced panel members at a time when the panels are assuming their new and expanded duties. It is proposed therefore that the 30 per cent. ceiling should be achieved over a period — as members' terms of office come to an end and new members are appointed.