§ 6.13 p.m.
§ Viscount Goschen rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 4th February be approved [19th Report from the Joint Committee].
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, the draft order is made under the powers in Schedule 6 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988. It affects the liability for non-domestic rates of water companies which merge under the provision in the Water Industry Act 1991 and whose property is assessed according to prescribed rules—sometimes known as formula rating.
§ The draft order provides that, subject to two small points which I shall explain, statutory water companies which merge shall have their rateable values aggregated. Each water company is a monopoly in its area, so it is fair and reasonable to regard the value of the parts of the property as unchanged in the event of a merger. The two small adjustments are, first, to the annual updating factor: 867 this is changed to ignore bulk transfers of water between the companies concerned before they merged; and, secondly, that any entitlement transitional phasing is removed when a merger takes place.
§ We have consulted the water industry and North East Water about the proposals in the order. The draft was agreed without amendment. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 4th February be approved [19th Report from the Joint Committee]. —(Viscount Goschen.)
§ Baroness Hollis of Heigham
My, Lords, we on this side have no objection to the order.
On Question, Motion agreed to.