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Column 791existing occupiers only. New occupiers of both new and existing property should not, in our view, qualify for protection in the same way, because when taking on a new property they will know what their new rate liability will be. I understand my hon. Friend's concern, but it must be remembered that the protection for losers under the new system is to be paid for by the gainers, who will have to wait for their full gains. The amendment would postpone further the point at which businesses that are expecting reductions, predominantly in the north and the midlands--this was referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. Nicholson)--will be able to enjoy them. We must strike a balance between the need to protect losers and the need to complete the transitional process as quickly as possible to secure the benefits of the new system. We think that we have struck the right balance, but I listened carefully to what my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby had to say. I would be pleased to talk to him further to ascertain whether there is anything else that we can do to meet the problem to which he pointed.
The hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) referred to the usefulness of some of the documentation that we have provided for the House today. I should tell him that the type does come off some of the documents. The hon. Gentleman asked why Newham does not qualify for the ILEA special grant. The reason is that Newham is not in ILEA.
Mr. Patten : The hon. Gentleman drew special attention to the ILEA grant. I think that he is referring beyond that to support for additional education needs. If the hon. Gentleman and I are unable to agree tonight, I shall write to him. The grant that is dealt with on the specific page to which he referred is the ILEA one.
The hon. Member for Newham, North-West talked about advertising and the campaign that he read about in the newspapers. I want to confirm what was said earlier in the debate, what we intimated by winks and nods and what we intimated orally. We intend through advertising to try to encourage the maximum take-up of rebates and the maximum take-up of interim relief. That is the purpose of the advertising.
Mr. Blunkett : I should like to press the Secretary of State on that point, because it is important to the House. Do the Government intend to use television advertising? If so, do they intend to refer to their transitional scheme, or to rebates that the right hon. Gentleman has just mentioned?
Mr. Patten : We certainly intend to use television for part of the advertising. We have not decided precisely how to allocate advertising for the interim relief scheme or the rebates, but I think that we must ensure that we advertise both schemes as effectively and comprehensively as possible. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are well aware of the parameters for advertising, about which he and some of his hon. Friends have shown such priestly concern.
Mr. Maxton : Should not the Government give more money to the local authorities--which are much better able to identify those who need rebates- -rather than leaving the task to centrally funded television and national newspaper advertising schemes, which, as the Scottish experience has shown, do not really work?
Mr. Patten : I think that national advertising is probably the best way to deal with what are, after all, national issues. I do not, however, rule out the possibility--although not necessarily in this instance--of occasionally using local authorities to get such important messages across, and also using voluntary organisations. If I have been unable to deal with any points during my brief remarks, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland or I will try to deal with them in correspondence.
This has been a useful debate. It has given us a chance to cover a number of the important changes that we are making to the community charge. By and large, both sides of the House have been able to agree--with one or two honourable exceptions--that the domestic rating system is inequitable and should go. We have put forward our proposals for its replacement. We are still not entirely clear about the Opposition's proposals : they seem as mysterious as Zsa Zsa Gabor's age. When we find out what they are, however, we shall want to provide exemplication so that the public know precisely what the consequences would be. In the meantime, until the Opposition produce their next policy, we will get on with the job of governing the country.
Question put and agreed to.
Lords amendments Nos 256 to 264 and 328 and 329 agreed to. [Some with Special Entry.]
Lords amendment : No. 330, in page 162, line 6, at end insert-- "2C. The following section shall be inserted after section 13-- "Reduced liability
13A.-(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations as regards any case where-
(a) a person is liable to pay an amount to an authority in respect of a personal community charge as it has effect for any chargeable financial year which is prescribed, and
(b) prescribed conditions are fulfilled.
(2) The regulations may provide that the amount he is liable to pay shall be an amount which-
(a) is less than the amount it would be apart from the regulations, and
(b) is found in accordance with prescribed rules.
(3) This section applies whether the liability to pay the amount mentioned in subsection (1) above arises under section 12 above or arises under that section read with section 13 above.
(4) The conditions mentioned in subsection (1) above may be prescribed by reference to such factors as the Secretary of State sees fit; and in particular such factors may include all or any of the following-
(a) rates for a period before 1 April 1990;
(b) the circumstances of, or other matters relating to, the person concerned;
(c) an amount relating to the authority concerned and specified, or to be specified, for the purposes of the regulations in a report laid, or to be laid, before the House of Commons;
(d) such other amounts as may be prescribed or arrived at in a prescribed manner;
(e) the making of an application by the person concerned. (5) The rules mentioned in subsection (2) above may be prescribed by reference to the Secretary of State sees fit; and in particular such factors may include all or any of the factors mentioned in subsection (4)(a) to (d) above.
(6) Without prejudice to the generality of section 143(2) below, regulations under this section may include-
(a) provision requiring the Secretary of State to specify in a report, for the purposes of the regulations, an amount in relation to each charging authority;
(b) provision requiring him to lay the report before the House of Commons;
(c) provision for the review of any prescribed decision of a charging authority relating to the application or operation of the regulations;
(d) provision that no appeal may be made to a valuation and community charge tribunal in respect of such a decision, notwithstanding section 23(2) below
(7) To the extent that he would not have power to do so apart from this subsection, the Secretary of State may-
(a) include in regulations under this section such amendments of any social security instrumentas he thinks expedient in consequence of the regulations under this section;(7) To the extent that he would not have power to do so apart from this subsection, the Secretary of State may-
(b) include in any social security instrument such provision as he thinks expedient in consequence of regulations under this section. (8) In subsection (7) above "social security instrument" means an order or regulations made, or falling to be made by the Secretary of State under the Social Security Act 1986."
"2D. In section 16 (joint and several liability: spouses) in subsection (1)(b) for "(read with section 13 above, where it is appropriate)" there shall be substituted "(or that section read with section 13 or 13A above, or both)"."
Read a Second time.
Amendment proposed to the Lords amendment : (f), in line 66, at end insert- -
13B--(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations which-- (
(a) quantify the aggregate amount of reduced liabilities calculated under a proposed scheme of reduced liability on an individual basis under Section 13A above.
(b) amend any regulations made under Section 135 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to distribute the amount calculated under (a) above by way of increased community charge benefit.
(2) Before deciding whether to make regulations under this section or under Section 13A above the Secretary of State shall consult such bodies representing local government, families with children and old age pensioners as appear to him to be concerned,'.-- [Mr. Blunkett.] Question put, That the amendment to the Lords amendment be made :--
The House divided : Ayes 202, Noes 278.
Column 794Division No. 369] [11.18 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Allen (Paisley N)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)
Beith, A. J.
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)
Bray, Dr Jeremy
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buckley, George J.
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Column 795Clelland, David
Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Cunningham, Dr John
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)
Duffy, A. E. P.
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Evans, John (St Helens N)
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Godman, Dr Norman A.
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Harman, Ms Harriet
Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Heffer, Eric S.
Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Home Robertson, John
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Macdonald, Calum A.
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Marek, Dr John
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Pike, Peter L.
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Quin, Ms Joyce
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Reid, Dr John
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Wise, Mrs Audrey