§ Mr. Edward Davey
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate the Government has made of the average level of council tax for the next financial year; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Raynsford
Decisions on council tax levels are for local authorities to take after consulting with their local electorates and taxpayers. The Government does make projections of the council tax yield in future years for the purposes of managing the public finances. These projections are based on a number of assumptions about changes in council tax levels, the tax base, the collection rate and council tax benefit payments. The level is assumed to rise in line with past trend, and does not represent a value judgment about what local authorities may choose to do in the future. These figures are not a Government view as to what constitutes an acceptable rise in council tax, and simply represent an assumption for public expenditure planning purposes. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also makes a technical assumption in relation to the assumed national council tax which is used for the purposes of the formula which we use to make the annual grant distribution to all local authorities.
§ Mr. Sanders
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what the(a) band D council tax and (b) average council tax paid in (i) Plymouth, (ii) Torbay, (iii) Torridge, (iv) West Devon, (v) south Hams, (vi) Exeter, (vii) Teignbridge, (viii) mid Devon, (ix) east Devon and (x) north Devon were in financial year 2003–04, including all precepts. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
The information requested is published on the website of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister at http://www.local.odpm.gov.uk/finance/ctax/ctax034.htm. The requested figures can be found there at columns 1 and 5 of Table 2, "2003–04 council taxes (average per dwelling and Band D for two adults): individual local authorities". The information is1078W also available in the Library, in Table 2 that accompanied the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister "News Release 2003/0050: 25 March 2003".