§ Mr. Stewart
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will make a statement on the costs and benefits of harmonising business rates in Scotland with those in England and Wales; 
(2) what is his present estimate of the cost of harmonising business rates in Scotland with those in England and Wales in (a) 1995–96 and (b) 1996–97. 
§ Mr. Kynoch
The 1995 revaluation was the first to be carried out with the relevant law and practice in Scotland fully harmonised with that in England and Wales. Since 1990, the Secretary of State has taken responsibility for prescribing Scottish non-domestic rate levels. The Scottish national non-domestic rate was set at the level of the English rate for 1995–96 and subsequent years. As a result of this policy, Scottish businesses have paid £1.4 billion less in rates over the five-year period from 1990 and can now plan ahead with much greater confidence. If the rate poundage had risen in line with inflation since 1990, Scottish businesses would now be faced with more than double their current rate levels.
MISG allocation to head injury projects 1991–97 1991–921 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 Total MISG allocation £3 million £6 million £10 million £14 million £18 million £18 million (a) Allocation to head injury projects £0 £277,000 £418,000 £685,000 £949,000 £1.0 million2 (b) Allocation to head injury projects as a percentage of Total £0 4.6 per cent. 4.2 per cent. 4.9 per cent. 5.3 per cent. 5.6 per cent. 1 The eligibility criteria for the MISG was extended from 1992–93 to include head injury projects. 2 Figures for 1996–97 allocation to head injury projects are provisional.
It is for local authorities to identify, and submit for approval, projects for MISG funding in future years.