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Rating Reform

Volume 131: debated on Wednesday 13 April 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment on what basis he will issue the capital allocation of £25 million for the preparation costs of the community charge which he announced on 24 March.

The £25 million capital allocations will be issued pro rata to adult population. Letters have been sent to each charging authority in England informing it of its individual allocation. A list of these allocations has been placed in the Library. Subject to parliamentary approval of the community charge legislation, the allocations will assist councils to begin preparing for the introduction of the community charge in 1990. Although authorities are unlikely to incur significant additional current expenditure in the financial year 1988–89, it is likely to be helpful for them to be able to begin preparations on capital projects such as the installation or adaptation of computer systems. These allocations show that the Government recognise the need for authorities to make an early start on these so that the collection of the community charge will run efficiently from the beginning. These early allocations will enable councils to plan sensibly for the operation of the new system, which will for the first time make them truly accountable to the people they serve.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those bodies that have made representations to his Department on the possible effects of the introduction of the poll tax on rural areas and on the services provided by local authorities.

[holding answer 12 April 1988]: A summary of the 1,271 responses received by 31 October 1986, when the consultation period on the Green Paper ended, was placed in the Library on 15 December 1986. Since June 1987 my Department has received some 8,300 letters, the majority of which—about 6,100—are from private individuals. However, the letters contain a variety of comments on specific aspects of our proposals, or requests for further information, and for this reason do not readily lend themselves to an analysis of correspondents' views.