Amendment proposed: No. 60 in, page 150, line 27, at end insert—
'(3A) At the end of paragraph 10(1) (winding up) there shall be added "or, as the case may be, section 221(5)(b) of that Act (winding up of unregistered companies)".'.—[Mr. Trippier.]
§ Question put, That the amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 108, Noes 17.
|Division No. 245]||[3.03 am|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Hayes, Jerry|
|Amess, David||Hayward, Robert|
|Arbuthnot, James||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Hind, Kenneth|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Hughes, Simon (Southwark)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Hunt, David (Wirral W)|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Irvine, Michael|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Jack, Michael|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Janman, Tim|
|Bright, Graham||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Knapman, Roger|
|Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)||Knowles, Michael|
|Burns, Simon||Lang, Ian|
|Burt, Alistair||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Butterfill, John||Lightbown, David|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Lilley, Peter|
|Carrington, Matthew||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Carttiss, Michael||Maclean, David|
|Chapman, Sydney||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Chope, Christopher||Mans, Keith|
|Conway, Derek||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Couchman, James||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Cran, James||Mills, Iain|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Day, Stephen||Morrison, Sir Charles|
|Devlin, Tim||Moynihan, Hon Colin|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Ryder, Richard|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Dover, Den||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Dunn, Bob||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Durant, Tony||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Fallon, Michael||Stevens, Lewis|
|Favell, Tony||Summerson, Hugo|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Forman, Nigel||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Forth, Eric||Thurnham, Peter|
|Franks, Cecil||Trippier, David|
|Freeman, Roger||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Gale, Roger||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Wallace, James|
|Gill, Christopher||Waller, Gary|
|Gow, Ian||Wardle, Charles (Bexhlll)|
|Greenway, John (Ryedale)||Watts, John|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Wells, Bowen|
|Grist, Ian||Wheeler, John|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Hague, William||Wood, Timothy|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Harris, David||Mr. Alan Howarth and|
|Hawkins, Christopher||Mr. Tim Sackville.|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Buckley, George J.||Nellist, Dave|
|Cryer, Bob||Patchett, Terry|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Turner, Dennis|
|Evans, John (St Helens N)||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Hinchliffe, David||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)||Mr. Martin Redmond and|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Mr. Eric Illsley.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.1082
Amendments made: No. 61, in page 152, leave out line 44 and insert—
'(4) For subsection (4) there shall be substituted the following subsections—
(4) Where regulations are for the time being in force under this section prescribing a description of non-domestic hereditament in relation to a person designated in the regulations ("the previously designated person"), amending regulations altering the designated person in relation to whom that description of hereditament is prescribed may have effect from a date earlier than that on which the amending regulations are made.
(4A) Where, by virtue of subsection (4) above, the designated person in relation to any description of non-domestic hereditament is changed from a date earlier than the making of the regulations,—
No. 62, in page 152, line 45 leave out from beginning to `following' and insert—
'15.—(1) Section 55 (alteration of lists) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (4) (content of regulations)—
(dd) as to the circumstances within which and the conditions upon which a proposal may be withdrawn".(3) In subsection (5) (regulations about appeals), for the words from "about" to "its alteration" there shall be substituted "between a valuaton officer and another person making a proposal for the alteration of a list—
(4) The'.—[Mr. Gummer.]
§ Sir Charles Morrison
I beg to move amendment No. 37, in page 153, line 24, leave out paragraph 18 and insert—18.—(1) Schedule 5 paragraph 5(1)(a) shall be amended as follows—`After 'livestock' insert 'or the breeding or rearing of horses or ponies.—'".'.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)
With this it will be convenient to debate amendment No. 3, in page 153, line 30, leave out 'any' and insert`more than two hectares of'.Amendment No. 4, in page 153, line 30, leave out 'or agricultural building'.
Amendment No. 5, in page 153, line 36, leave out subsection (a) and insert—`(a) the proportion of such amount as the area of:500 square metres bears to the total floor area of such building.'.Amendment No. 6, in page 153, line 42, leave out from beginning to end of line 48.
§ Sir Charles Morrison
Amendment No. 37 arises from a commitment given by Lord Caithness in another place during the course of the Local Government Finance Bill last year, and from my hon. Friend the Minister living up 1083 to that commitment in Committee on the Bill now before the House. I thank him for allowing time for discussion and correspondence on the derating of horse and pony breeding establishments, which has been a matter for debate for some years.
From the early 1930s until the early 1980s, horse and pony breeding establishments were derated, stemming from a court case in the early 1930s, so for 50 years rating authorities, 13 consecutive Parliaments, Labour, Conservative and coalition Governments and countless Ministers accepted without question that derating existed.
In the early 1980s a rating authority decided to question that belief and gave rise to what became known as the Whitsbury stud case. Ultimately, in the autumn of 1987, the House of Lords decided that for the previous 50 years the law had been misinterpreted and that studs should be rated. Not to put too fine a point on it—the judgment was a good deal more complicated—that was the general effect.
During the progress of that case through the courts, I gained the impression that if it went wrong for horse and pony breeders, the Government would look sympathetically at the possibility of restoring the law as it was thought to be. However, Ministers come and go and my early impression proved to be misguided. None the less, intensive discussion took place and the outcome is schedule 5 as drafted.
Amendment No. 37 aims at restoring the pre-Whitsbury stud case situation to provide exemption from rating for those who breed or rear horses or ponies. Such breeding is an agricultural activity, as it is for the purpose of income tax, corporation tax and capital taxation, and it should qualify for derating. That horse and pony breeding is an agricultural activity is emphasised by the fact that it occurs in conjunction with other agricultural activities such as cattle and sheep grazing.
In an article in The Times yesterday, Sir Adam Butler writes thatthree out of four thoroughbreds never get near a racecourse and a good proportion of them and of the half-breds and ponies end up as food.As a matter of interest, we are the biggest exporter of horseflesh for human consumption in the European Community, and a large proportion of our horsemeat is used in this country for dog and cat food.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food actively encourages farmers to adopt alternative land use. Horse and pony breeding is a natural alternative, and one that meets the growing interest in horse riding. It would be unfortunate, to put it mildly, if a deterrent to breeding and rearing horses and ponies were constructed. I hope that the Government will accept amendment No. 37, but if not I trust that they will consider instead amendments Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6.
The Government's objective in their Committee concession was, to quote a letter from my right hon. Friend the Minister to Sir Adam Butler, toextend the benefits of a reduction in rateable value to all breeding establishments which meet the agricultural requirements.To do that, the Government have inserted in lines 32 to 41 on page 153 of the Bill a method of reduction based on rateable value and subject to the introduction of an order by the Secretary of State stating the amount of rateable value to be taken into account when assessing a reduction.
1084 That method seems to have two weaknesses. First, it ensures that there will be continuing uncertainty about rating, both for those involved in the breeding of horses and ponies and, more importantly, for those who may be contemplating going into that business as an alternative land use. Secondly, rateable values will vary in different parts of the country, which will mean not only that a thoroughbred breeder in, for example, Newmarket has a lower overall reduction than the thoroughbred breeder in Yorkshire or the west country, but the small farmer turning partly to horse and pony breeding as an alternative land use in Surrey or Sussex will, in effect, receive less remission than his equivalent in Wales and other lower-rated areas.
My amendments Nos. 3 to 6 aim to avoid those anomalies by reference to a reduction based on a common area of about 500 sq m. That is roughly equal to the area required for two mares and their young stock. I have a suspicion that initially the Government were thinking along the same lines as I was, but they for some unknown reason veered away to the more anomalous proposals.
To sum up—[Interruption.] I am grateful to the House for that cheer. It is a great encouragement after working for seven years on this issue. I hope that the Government will be prepared to consider the total exemption, as it was before the Whitsbury stud case. If not, I hope that they will adopt my fallback position in amendments Nos. 3 to 6.
§ Mr. Gummer
It is reasonable for us to expect every section of the business community to bear its share of the burden of rates. It would not be possible to exempt horse breeding in this way. It was uncharacteristic of my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Sir C. Morrison) to speak in the way that he did because the Government have gone a long way and have talked over many months to reach a solution to deal with the de minimis situation. It seemed unfair, for example, that a farmer breeding horses as part of his operation would find a small area of his operation was rated. We tried to reach a compromise to prevent that from happening. I thought that everyone agreed that this was reasonable.
My hon. Friend the Member for Devizes asked, first, that we should get rid of all rating, and then that we should so extend the generous stand that my right hon. Friend in another place initially suggested as to cover a large number of people running a business like any other. It would be difficult to make that distinction. In my view, it would be wrong and unjustifiable. I cannot see the logic of it. My hon. Friend said that it would be more difficult now because there would be more people wishing to buy horses and be involved with horses, but that seems to be an argument on the other side.
It would be good if the interests that my hon. Friend so admirably represents would accept that the Government have gone a long way towards meeting their wishes, and that our proposal is a reasonable and proper compromise which puts the industry at an advantage in relation to others. It is unreasonable to ask for any further compromise from the Government. I therefore hope that my hon. Friend will seek leave to withdraw his amendment and support what the Government have done.
§ Sir Charles Morrison
My right hon. Friend the Minister entirely ignored the history of the matter, but as 1085 the hour is late and I know that right hon. and hon. Members want to get on with the business, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments made No. 63, in page 153, line 24, at end insert—
'(1A) In paragraph 2, in sub-paragraph (7) after paragraph (c) there shall be inserted—
(cc) the quantity of refuse or waste material which is brought on to and permanently deposited on the hereditament".'.
No. 225, in page 154, line 5, at end insert—
'.—(1) In Schedule 8 (non-domestic rating: pooling) Part II (non-domestic rating contributions) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In paragraph 5, at the end of sub-paragraph (1) there shall be added "and has effect subject to any provision made by virtue of paragraph 6(2A) below".
(3) In paragraph 6, after sub-paragraph (2) there shall be inserted the following sub-paragraphs—
(2A) Regulations under paragraph 4 above may incorporate in the rules provision for adjustments to be made in the calculation of the amount of an authority's non-domestic rating contribution under paragraph 5(2) or 5(6) above, being adjustments to take account of relevant changes affecting the amount of the authority's non-domestic rating contribution for an earlier year.
(2B) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (2A) above, a change is a relevant change if it results from a decision, determination or other matter which (whether by reason of the time at which it was taken, made or occurred or otherwise) was not taken into account by the authority in the calculation under paragraph 5(6) above of the amount of its non-domestic rating contribution for the earlier year in question.".'.
§ No. 64, in page 157, line 21, after 'time', insert 'being'.
§ No. 65, in page 159, line 33, after 'maintenance', insert `grant'.—[Mr. Gummer.]