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Local Government Finance

Volume 175: debated on Thursday 28 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans his Department has to allow teachers to pay the community charge on behalf of those from overseas countries with whom they are involved in exchange schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether all those aged 18 years and over who are in full-time secondary education are wholly exempt from the community charge;(2) whether those leaving full-time secondary education with conditional or unconditional offers of places at institutions of higher or further education are regarded

(a) as students for the purposes of the community charge between their dates of leaving secondary education and their date of starting higher or further education, or (b) as adults eligible for community charge benefit during this period;

(3) whether the liability of those aged 18 years and over who were in full-time secondary education to pay the community charge commences from the date of their leaving their secondary schools.

The majority of those who leave secondary education at the age of 18 will be covered by the exemption from the personal community charge for those in respect of whom child benefit is paid, or would be paid but for the fact the person is in care, and may continue to be exempt for some time after their courses have ended. Those aged under 20 years of age and who are undertaking a qualifying course of education, other than as a result of a post or employment held, are exempt until the end of the course or until they reach their 20th birthday, whichever is the earlier. Qualifying courses for the purposes of this exemption are defined by the Personal Community Charge (Qualifying Courses of Education) Regulations 1990—S.I. 1990/712—which exclude courses of higher education.

Ward weighted densityAll ages social index
Indicator valueWeight times indicator £ millionIndicator valueWeight times indicator £ million
Rochester upon Medway3·426812·632-0·4010-0·282
Tonbridge and Malling1·145400·607-2·8119-1·364
Tunbridge Wells1·543200·802-1·2322-0·586

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to amend the Community Charges (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1989, regulation 62, so that the three-month period of grace dates from 1 April 1990 rather than from any earlier date.

I am reviewing the operation of the standard charge. Many people whose property was empty and unfurnished before 1 April 1990 will have benefited from either not having to pay any rates at all or paying lower unoccupied property rates.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will reconsider the standard spending assessment for Brighton and other holiday and conference resorts using the additional information which is becoming available on the extra burdens they face.

I have made it clear that I am willing to consider any fresh evidence on SSAs with a view to making future changes if that should prove necessary. Any information provided by Brighton or any other local authority in this context will be given full consideration.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the authorities which benefited in their standard spending assessment and revenue grant allocation from a consideration of the impact of daily population increases.

Entitlement to the 20 per cent. payable by students starts when a person is enrolled on a full-time course of education, as defined for the purposes of the community charge, and has begun to attend it. In the intervening period a person will be registered for the full personal community charge but may be eligible for community charge benefit of up to 80 per cent. of the charge set.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each district council in Kent, in respect of ward weighted density and the all ages social index, the values of indicators defined in annex A to the revenue support grant distribution report (England), and the amounts produced for each district council by applying the weights set out in paragraph 3·36(a) of that report, to those values.

The values of the indicators and the amounts produced by applying the relevant weights are set out in the table.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him to this same question on 4 April, Official Report, column 666.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the specific and supplementary grants to be paid to local authorities in 1990–91 showing in each case (a) the name of the grant, (b) the purpose of the grant, (c) the sponsoring Department, (d) the amount of grant, (e) the method of calculation of individual authorities' entitlements, including the percentage of expenditure grant-aided and any conditions attached to the grant, (f) when the principles and operation of the grant were last reviewed, and the conclusions of those reviews, (g) whether the grant is included within aggregate external finance and (h) whether the grant is for capital and/or revenue expenditure.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to chapter 21 of "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1990/91 to 1992/93"—Cm 1021—tables 21·4·3, 21·4·4. and 21·4·5 which, respectively, list revenue grants within and without aggregate external finance, and capital grants. The various departmental chapters provide details on the principles and operation of individual grants. If he has particular concerns I am sure the Departments concerned will be pleased to help.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what additional assistance was given in calculating standard spending assessment and grant to Westminster city council on account of its daily population figure; and if he will set out the criteria used on arriving at that sum.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to him on 4 April of this year when he asked a very similar question.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much was the total level of local government spending in each of the last five years including the current year.

[holding answer 27 June 1990]: The information is as follows. New definitions of local government spending were introduced in 1990–91 and comparable information for years prior to 1989–90 is not available. For years 1986–87 to 1989–90 (budgets) expenditure is defined as total expenditure gross of specific and supplementary grants and for 1989–90 (provisional outturn) and 1990–91 expenditure is defined as revenue expenditure, the measure equivalent to total standard spending.

Local government expenditure
£ million
1989–901 334,317
1989–902 432,100
1 Including an adjustment for polytechnics (not in the local authority sector in 1989–90) to make the series up to and including 1989–90 comparable.
2 After adjusting for system changes to make the 1989–90 provisional outturn estimates comparable to 1990–91 budgets.
3 Budget.
4 Provisional outturn.