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Local Government Finance

Volume 164: debated on Thursday 21 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what basis of assumed expenditure was his estimate made regarding the likely levels of community charge in the Arfon borough council and Cyngor Dosbarth Dwyfor areas for 1990–1991.

The assumed expenditure levels (consistent with standard spending assessments) of £6·002 million for Arfon and £3·544 million for Dwyfor are based on 1989–90 budgets, adjusted for changes in functions and funding arrangements and inflated to 1990–91 levels.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assumption he made of the amount of income that (a) Arfon borough council and (b) Cyngor Dosbarth Dwyfor, would receive from the distribution of business rate when he assessed that their personal community charge per capita would amount to £156 and £155 respectively.

My provisional community charge estimates of £156 for the Arfon area and £155 for the Dwyfor area assumed:

  • (a) £1,361,000 and
  • (b) £758,000
  • These figures were updated by my statement to the House on 18 December 1989 to:

  • (a) £1,347,000 and
  • (b) £733,000
  • I now estimate community charge for 1990–91 to be £153 in the Arfon area and £149 in the Dwyfor area if councils spend in line with my assumptions.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the maximum charge per annum on community charge payers in Wales arising from the charge levied on account of the expenditure of a community council.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the relationship between those areas, which have been granted transitional relief for the community charge for 1990–91, and the levels of per capita household incomes, and the indices for deprivation for such areas; and whether any area of the Dwyfor district has met the criteria to be granted such transitional relief.

    Transitional relief is calculated by comparing average rate bills for 1989–90 in community areas with my estimates of community charge levels. As such the scheme is intended to moderate the increases community chargepayers would otherwise face in moving from the domestic rating system. Income levels and indices of deprivation are thus not relevant to the operation of these transitional arrangements.Provisional details of those communities who may be entitled to transitional relief were placed in the Library on 18 December 1989. No communities in Dwyfor were shown as receiving relief.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of community charge payers in Wales live in those communities eligible for transitional relief by way of additional grant; what is the total number of such people; and what is the maximum increase that will be made by way of individuals payment in such communities, on the basis of his statement to the House of 10 December.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to my statement to the House on 18 December. Provisional details of communities which may be entitled to transitional relief have been placed in the Library.No community area will face a charge more than a threshold amount (about £20) above the average domestic rate bill per adult in 1989–90 (assuming that councils spend in line with the settlement).

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what will be the total payment to be made by non-domestic ratepayers in Wales in 1990–91; and what is the total payment to be made by these ratepayers in 1989–90.

    The total payment to be made by non-domestic ratepayers in Wales in 1990–91 is estimated to be £446 million, of which £3 million will be retained by charging authorities to meet the costs of collection. No direct comparison can be made with the 1989–90 payment because of changes in the structure of exemptions and reliefs, and different arrangements for empty property rating, all of which take effect for the first time in 1990–91. The Welsh national non-domestic rating multiplier has been set such that the average business ratepayer will pay broadly the same in 1990–91, in real terms, as in 1989–90.