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Local Government Finance

Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria he has set for exemption from payment of the community charge by people with acquired brain damage; what guidance has been issued to general practitioners in this respect; and if he will make a statement.

A person is exempt from the personal community charge on the ground of severe mental impairment if he or she is entitled to one of a number of qualifying benefits and is in receipt of a certificate from a registered medical practitioner stating that he or she is severely mentally impaired. For the purposes of the community charge legislation, a person is severely mentally impaired if he or she has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning, however caused, which appears to be permanent.Guidance to general practitioners has been issued in a circular letter from the Department of Health, dated 3 November 1989. A further letter of guidance will be issued shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met representatives of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities to discuss local government finance.

My right hon. Friend met representatives of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and other local authority associations on 27 March. They discussed the community charge and other issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment in how many local authority areas single prisoners who maintained unoccupied property would be liable to pay standard community charge at greater than a multiple of 0.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average level of community charge, discounting the safety net, in inner London in boroughs that were (a) Conservative controlled and (b) Labour controlled before 3 May.

Conservative controlled—£227. Labour controlled—£516. The figures are based on charges at 1 April 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the average capital value rates bill on a property worth (i) £50,000, (ii) £80,000 and (iii) £100,000 in London in 1990–91 assuming such a system had to raise the same amount of revenue as the community charge.

Figures placed in the Library on 4 April show illustrative levels of capital value based rates in 1990–91 were such a system to be used to raise the same amount nationally as the community charge. The implied average bills for inner and outer London are:

Value of property £Inner London £Outer London £
(i) 50,000743507
(ii) 80,0001,189811
(iii) 100,0001,4861,014

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he next plans to meet representatives of the local authority associations to discuss the relative effects of a tax on property values and the community charge.

We have no plans to discuss a tax on property values with representatives of the local authority associations.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what a person on average male earnings would pay in local income tax in 1990–91 in order to raise the same amount of revenue as the community charge in London.

The level of local income tax payable by a person on average male earnings would depend on the precise way in which such a system were introduced and on the precise tax allowances which were available. Illustrative figures exemplifying possible local income tax rates and the bill payable with a taxable income of £12,800 were placed in the Library on 4 April.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any plans to replace the community charge with a tax based on property floorspace.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities in England which within the consideration given in regard to the determination of the standard spending assessment for 1990–91 emerged as more socially deprived than Rotherham.

[holding answer 14 May 1990]: The main measure of relative social deprivation within standard spending assessments is the all ages social index which is used in the assessment of the standard spending assessment elements for all other services and for other social services. The composition of this index is described fully on page 24 of the Revenue Support Grant Distribution Report (England) which was approved by the House on 18 January. The following authorities are those which have higher scores on this index than Rotherham:

Authorities with all ages social index scores greater than Rotherham's

  • Avon CC
  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Barnet
  • Barrow in Furness
  • Bath
  • Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire CC
  • Birmingham
  • Blackburn
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton
  • Bournemouth
  • Bradford
  • Brent
  • Brighton
  • Bristol
  • Burnley
  • Bury
  • Calderdale
  • Cambridge
  • Camden
  • Cannock Chase
  • Carlisle
  • Cheltenham
  • Chester
  • Cleveland CC
  • Corby
  • Cornwall CC
  • Coventry
  • Crewe and Nantwich
  • Croydon
  • Darlington
  • Derby
  • Derwentside
  • Devon CC
  • Doncaster
  • Dover
  • Durham CC
  • Ealing
  • Easington
  • East Staffordshire
  • East Sussex CC
  • Eastbourne
  • Enfield
  • Exeter
  • Gateshead
  • Gillingham
  • Gloucester
  • Gravesham
  • Great Grimsby
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Greenwich
  • Hackney
  • Halton
  • Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Haringey
  • Harlow
  • Harrow
  • Hartlepool
  • Hastings
  • Havant
  • Hillingdon
  • Hounslow
  • Hove
  • Humberside County Council
  • Hyndburn
  • Ipswich
  • Isles of Scilly
  • Islington
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Kent County Council
  • Kerrier
  • Kettering
  • Kingston upon Hull
  • Kingston-upon-Thames
  • Kirklees
  • Knowsley
  • Lambeth
  • Lancashire County Council
  • Lancaster
  • Langbaurgh-on-Tees
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Leicestershire County Council
  • Leominster
  • Lewisham
  • Lincoln
  • Liverpool
  • Luton
  • Manchester
  • Medina
  • Merton
  • Middlesbrough
  • Milton Keynes
  • Newark and Sherwood
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Newham
  • North Bedfordshire
  • Northampton
  • Northamptonshire County Council
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth
  • Oldham
  • Oxford
  • Pendle
  • Penwith
  • Peterborough
  • Plymouth
  • Portsmouth
  • Preston
  • Reading
  • Redbridge
  • Redditch
  • Restormel
  • Richmond-upon-Thames
  • Rochdale
  • Rochester upon Medway
  • Rossendale
  • Rugby
  • Rushmoor
  • Salford
  • Sandwell
  • Scunthorpe
  • Sefton
  • Sheffield
  • Shepway
  • Slough
  • South Shropshire
  • South Tyneside
  • Southampton
  • Southend-on-Sea
  • Southwark
  • St. Helens
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sunderland
  • Swale
  • Tameside
  • Thamesdown
  • Thanet
  • Thurrock
  • Torbay
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Trafford
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Walsall
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wandsworth
  • Watford
  • Wear Valley
  • Wellingborough
  • Westminster
  • Weymouth and Portland
  • Wirral
  • Wolverhampton
  • Wrekin
  • York

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply of 9 May, how much of the additional £2·5 billion in budgeted receipts for local authorities in the current financial year over the last financial year will be received by authorities which at the time of setting the community charge were under (a) Labour control, (b) Conservative control, (c) Liberal Democrat control and (d) under no outright control.

[holding answer 16 May 1990]: A breakdown of the £2·5 billion estimate is not possible on information currently available. The increases in demands and precepts in 1990–91 over the estimated equivalent figures for 1989–90 uprated by 8·1 per cent. are as follows:

Political control of authorityIncrease in £ million
Conservative690
Labour790
SLD or Liberal30
No overall control420
Other10

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any estimate of the percentage of the additional £2·5 billion in budgeted receipts for local authorities in the current financial year over the last financial year which will (a) be used to build up reserves which were depleted in the last financial year and (b) be spent upon services.

[holding answer 16 May 1990]: Local authorities as a whole are budgeting to draw down about £500 million from reserves in 1990–91.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the increase per capita in the level of community charge paid by residents in an area if their local authority were to increase by £1 per capita its total revenue; and what comparative increase would be borne by payers of the uniform business rate in the same area.

[holding answer 16 May 1990]: Local authorities have a number of ways of increasing their revenue, not all of which increase the community charge in their area, and none of which impacts directly on payers of the uniform business rate.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of the grant settlements for Westminster city council for the year 1990–91 related to a calculation of needs.

As for all other charging authorities, the RSG entitlement for Westminster is calculated on the basis of the Revenue Support Grant Distribution Report (England), approved by the House on 18 January, and is related to the assessment of the cost of providing a standard level of service. In Westminster's case, this amount is reduced by the £75 per adult contributions of the safety net.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he plans to increase central Government assistance to local authorities to reduce the community charge.

We will be taking decisions on the amount of central Government support to local authorities in the next few months. The detail of the revenue support grant settlement for 1991–92 will be the subject of consultation with the local authority associations in the autumn.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the average capital value rate bill on property worth (i) £50,000, (ii) £80,000 and (iii) £100,000 in England in 1990–91 assuming such a system had to raise the same amount of revenue as the community charge.

Figures placed in the library on 4 April show illustrative levels of capital value-based rates in 1990–91 were such a system to be used to raise the same amount nationally as the community charge. The implied average bills in England for properties worth (i) £50,000, (ii), £80,000 and (iii) £100,000 are £528, £845 and £1,056 respectively.