§ 43. Mr. Rost
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will consider recommending to local authority valuation officers, now revaluing all properties for 1st April, 1973, in accordance with the provisions of the General Rate Act, 1967, not to increase assessments for that proportion of an improved value to a property which has arisen from the installation of central heating.
§ Mr. Graham Page
The revaluation is being carried out by the valuation officers of the Inland Revenue Department, who are obliged by Section 19 of the General Rate Act, 1967, to assess a hereditament on its open market rental value. My right hon. Friend has no power to intervene. Any changes in the legislation must await the outcome of the present consultations on the Green Paper on the Future Shape of Local Government Finance.
§ Mr. Rost
Yes, but does my hon. Friend sympathise with the anger of many of my constituents, and householders up and down the country, in regard to the injustice of a rating system which allows a householder's rates to be increased after he has installed central heating at his own personal expense to improve the comfort of his own home, perhaps for his old age? Will my hon. Friend look at this when it comes to discussion of the Green Paper?
§ Mr. Page
It will be looked it, of course, but it would be unfair if assessments were not to be consistent and not to reflect the open market rental values of the properties. The householder who had central heating at the outset would be taxed on the extra value but the householder who had the facility installed subsequently would not, and I think that that would be unfair.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
At a time when we are encouraging people to improve their houses, is it not stupid to add to their problems by discouraging them from doing the very sort of thing we want them to do? If my hon. Friend has not now the power, will he get the power to intervene to have this matter put right?