§ 21. Mr. Charles Wardle
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations he has received from tenants' organisations in favour of capital value rates.
§ Mr. Wardle
Would not a system of capital value rates be as unfair to those on low incomes as a local income tax would be unwieldy? Is not by far the fairest and most accountable system of local government finance—subject of course to proper implementation—the community charge?
§ Mr. McAllion
If three out of four voters in England rejected a local government tax in the general election, and if a body elected—in the main—outside England subsequently ignored that vote and imposed that local government tax only on England, would the Minister describe those of his fellow countrymen who resisted that undemocratic imposition by every peaceful means open to them as shirkers and anarchists? Does he recognise that the danger of anarchy arises when Governments ignore the principle of democratic consent to law, as the Government have done with the poll tax in Scotland?
§ 22. Mrs. Maureen Hicks
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the impact of the uniform business rate on bed-and-breakfast businesses.
§ Mr. Chope
The impact of the uniform business rate and the non-domestic revaluation on bed-and-breakfast establishments which are subject to rating will vary among properties and areas of the country in the same way as for other properties. I am pleased to see that businesses as a whole in my hon. Friend's constituency will benefit from an average rate reduction of 45 per cent. in cash terms, without transition, as a result of the new business rate arrangements.
§ Mrs. Hicks
Is my hon. Friend aware of the anxiety about the suggestion of the 100-day rule? Will he examine more closely the problems that it could create? If introduced, it could discourage smaller bed-and-breakfast businesses from operating. That would have a profound effect, and would work against our policy to encourage more tourists to use tourist facilities off-peak.
§ Mr. Skinner
Will the Minister have a word with the Secretary of State for the Environment? Perhaps they could trot down to Bath together. I have been told that there has been a revolt by the business men and women of that constituency. The result of that and other developments is that we could be recycling the whole Government, not just the Secretary of State for the Environment.
§ 23. Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 10 county councils with the highest percentage overspend over standard spending assessment.
§ Mr. David Hunt
The list is as follows: Derbyshire—[HON. MEMBERS: "Labour."]; Avon—[HON. MEMBERS: "Labour."]; Northumberland—[HON. MEMBERS: "Labour."]; Cumbria—[HON. MEMBERS: "Labour."]; Oxfordshire—[HON. MEMBERS: "Labour."]; Cheshire—[HON. MEMBERS: "Labour."]; Isle of Wight—[HON. MEMBERS: "Liberal."]; Humberside—[HON. MEMBERS: "Labour."]; Nottinghamshire—[HON. MEMBERS "Labour."]; and Lancashire—[HON. MEMBERS: "Labour."]
§ Mr. Boswell
Does not that send the clearest possible message to the local government electors that Conservative councils cost them less, and that Labour and other Opposition-controlled councils cost them much more?
§ Ms. Gordon
Is the Minister aware that people in the London borough of Barnet who want to go swimming go to the Swiss Cottage baths in the borough of Camden, and that people who want to take their children to one o'clock 329 clubs go to Parliament Hill fields, also in the borough of Camden? It is all very well for Conservative-controlled authorities to keep spending down, but their residents must use the facilities in neighbouring Labour-run boroughs because they are not provided in their own boroughs.