§ Lord Sandford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
By what process of consultation with local government and by what process of calculations was the figure of £1.5 million arrived at as the cost to local authorities in England and Wales of the consultation prescribed in Section 13 of the Rates Act 1984.
§ The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Lord Bellwin)
A draft of a code of guidance to be issued by the Secretary of State under the provisions of Section 13 of the Rates Act 1984 has been sent to local authority associations and other interested organisations. The draft includes an estimate of £1.5 million for the additional cost to local authorities of consulting representatives of industrial and commercial ratepayers. The estimate is based on the annual cost of 100 full-time staff, and represents one quarter of a man year per local authority. I consider this a reasonable estimate, since many authorities already carry out consultations with business ratepayers. But the purpose of sending the code of guidance in draft to local government and other interests is to consult them on it, and we shall consider carefully any representations they may make on this or other points.