PART 4: BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS
41. In considering whether provisions in this
Part should be specified on the face of the Bill or dealt with
by delegated legislation, the ODPM has balanced the importance
of the matter in issue against the need to ensure flexibility
in relation to business improvement districts. We particularly
wanted to avoid too much technical or administrative detail placed
on the face of the Bill.
42. The framework of business improvement districts,
their purpose, that they need to be approved by a ballot of the
ratepayers in the area concerned is set out in the Bill, but it
is supported by secondary legislation, for example, as to the
details of how the ballot is to be run.
43. All delegated powers in Part 4 are subject
to the negative resolution procedure. We consider this is an appropriate
level of Parliamentary scrutiny given the nature of those powers.
The delegated powers deal with the technical detail in the establishment
of business improvement districts.
44. In the following paragraphs references to
the Secretary of State include, as respects Wales, the National
Assembly for Wales.
45. Clause 43 gives billing authorities the power
to make a business improvement district arrangements and explains
the purpose of business improvement districts.
Clause 44: Joint arrangements
46. Clause 44 enables the Secretary of State
to make regulations about how the provisions of this Part will
apply where two or more billing authorities come together to establish
a business improvement district i.e. a cross border business improvement
district. As with most of the powers in Part 4 we only intend
to use them if absolutely necessary. We anticipate that billing
authorities will be able to make their own joint arrangements
without the need, in most cases, for the Secretary of State to
make regulations. We do, however, wish to use this power to determine
which billing authority is to be the lead authority in any joint
arrangement if the authorities cannot agree among themselves.
Clause 49: BID Revenue Account
47. Clause 49 requires billing authorities which
have established a BID to keep a BID Revenue Account, so that
BID monies are kept separate from other local authority revenues.
48. Clause 49(4) and (5) enables the Secretary
of State to make further provisions in relation to the BID Revenue
Account. The power may be used to provide the technical rules
on how the account is to be operated (note that the BID Revenue
Account will be subject to clause 21 of this Bill). This includes
a "Henry VIII" power, allowing the Secretary of State
to amend primary legislation. Although there is an assumption
that provisions that include such Henry VIII should be subject
to an affirmative resolution, in this case the provision is very
narrowly drawn and is limited to provisions relating to the BID
Revenue Account. There is no current intention to use the "Henry
Clause 50: Administration of BID levy etc
49. Clause 50 enables the Secretary of State
to make provision in relation to the administration of the BID
levy. It is likely that the administration, collection and enforcement
of BID levy may be similar (but perhaps simpler) to the structure
used for non-domestic rates (see Schedule 9 to the Local Government
Finance Act 1988). The Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement)
(Local Lists) Regulations 1989 are similar to the provision we
anticipate making under this power. Those regulations are subject
to a negative resolution procedure.
Clause 51: BID proposals
50. Clause 51(2) enables the Secretary of State
to make regulations as to who may make BID proposals and the procedural
requirements in drawing up those proposals. The regulations made
under this power will be technical and procedural in nature including
prescribing the necessary requirements placed on a person before
they can draw up a BID proposal and the different matters that
proposal must contain, the bodies with which that proposer must
consult before bringing forward a proposal and the anticipated
date of coming into force of the BID arrangements proposed.
Clause 53: Power of veto
51. Clause 52 provides for a BID proposal to
be put to the affected ratepayers in a ballot. Where the proposal
is approved the billing authority has under clause 53 the power
to veto the proposal in prescribed circumstances and within a
prescribed period of the date of the ballot and in deciding whether
to veto the proposal the authority must have regard to prescribed
52. In the note sent to the Commons Committee
on BIDs we explained that the billing authority would only have
the power to veto in narrowly-defined circumstances i.e. where
the proposal conflicts with local or regional government strategic
plans for the area concerned and we intend to use the power to
prescribe those circumstances.
Clause 54: Appeal against veto
53. Clause 54 gives any person who was entitled
to vote in the initial BID proposal ballot the right to challenge
the billing authority's veto by referring the matter to the Secretary
of State for consideration. Clause 54(2) enables the Secretary
of State to make regulations as to the administrative and procedural
arrangements for these appeals and the matters the Secretary of
State must take into account in deciding such an appeal. Similar
regulations have been made for appeals in the field of business
rates and council tax (see Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of
Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993 and Valuation and Community
Charge Tribunals Regulations 1989) both these sets of regulations
are made under the negative resolution procedure in Parliament.
Clause 56: Duration of BID arrangements etc.
54. Clause 56 provides that BIDs may last no
longer than 5 years without re-balloting. Clause 56(4) enables
the Secretary of State to make regulations as to the circumstances
in which BIDs may be altered or terminated. Regulations, if any,
made under this power are likely to provide a list of the circumstances
in which the parties together can alter a BID or terminate it
early, and make provision for meeting the outstanding commitments,
if any of the BID. It is not envisaged that any unilateral alteration
or termination would be permitted.
Clause 57: Regulations about ballots
55. Clause 57 enables the Secretary of State
to make regulations as to the administration and procedural requirements
for BID ballots. It is not anticipated that rules underlying the
ballots will be contentious. By way of precedent equivalent regulations
have been made previously by negative resolution procedure, see,
for example, Local Authorities (Referendums)(Petitions and Directions)(England)
Clause 58: Power to make further provision
56. This clause enables the Secretary of State
to make supplementary, consequential, transitional or incidental
regulations where it is considered necessary or expedient to do
so for the narrow purpose only of giving full effect to the provisions
relating to BIDs. The power includes a "Henry VIII"
power which would be very technical in nature covering, as the
clause states, supplementary, incidental, consequential, or transitional
provisions in consequence to giving the provisions in Part 4 full
effect. As such, t here is no current intention to use the "Henry
VIII" power and it is included only to cover unforeseen circumstances
arising in relation to BIDs. BIDs are an entirely new creation
and it is not yet known how they will bed down in practice. Consequently
the powers taken enable the Secretary of State to react to any
unforeseen circumstances in relation to BIDs which may in the
Clause 63: Small business relief
57. Clause 63 amends section 43 of the Local
Government Finance Act 1988 by inserting new provisions which
will create a new relief from business rates for certain businesses.
New subsection 43(4B) gives the Secretary of State the power to
prescribe the maximum amount of rateable value below which the
relief will apply, the other conditions which have to be satisfied
in order for the relief to apply to a particular hereditament
and, as respects England only, the date by which an application
for such rate relief must be submitted. New subsection 43(4C)
gives the Secretary of State power, as respects England only,
to prescribe the form and content of an application. New subsection
44(9) (inserted by clause 63(5)) enables the Secretary of State
to prescribe the level of the small business relief. Other orders
made prescribing conditions and administration of reliefs under
section 43 have been made under the negative resolution procedure
(see, for example, the Non-Domestic Rating (Former Agricultural
Premises)(England) Order 2001 and the Non-Domestic Rating (Rural
Settlements) Order 1997). It is noted that existing power of the
Secretary of State to prescribed conditions under subsection 43(6B)(c)(ii)
of the 1988 Act is subject to an affirmative procedure in Parliament.
However, this provision gives the Secretary of State the power
to create new classes of rural properties (which was done, for
example in the case of public houses and petrol stations, see
the Non-Domestic Rating (Public Houses and Petrol Filling Stations)(England)
Order 2001) to which the rural relief applies. Whereas the power
to prescribe in clause 63 does not give the Secretary of State
such a power. The Secretary of State intends to exercise the power
to prescribe conditions in order to provide that a ratepayer is
only entitled to small business relief if he has only one property
in the billing authority's area. So a ratepayer with a chain of
small shops would not be entitled to the relief.
Clause 66: Transitional relief
58. Clause 66 inserts a new section 57A into
the Local Government Finance Act 1988. This new section will apply
to England only. Existing section 58 (which currently applies
to England and Wales) is amended by clause 66(2) to apply to Wales
59. New section 57A is modelled on existing section
58 and differs in only a couple of places. This clause will require
rather than empower the Secretary of State to make regulations
that provide transitional relief to ratepayers following a rating
revaluation. Under the current Non-Domestic Rating (Chargeable
Amounts)(England) Regulations 1999, after a 5 yearly revaluation
if a ratepayer's rate bill is calculated to increase by more than
a specified percentage he does not pay the full amount of the
increase immediately. Instead the increase is phased in over a
number of years. In order to offset the cost to the general taxpayer
of this relief the regulations also provide that where a ratepayer's
rate bill is calculated to decrease by more than a specified percentage
he does not receive the full amount of the decrease immediately.
Instead the decrease is phased in over a number of years. In relation
to the delegated powers, regulations to be made under new section
57A must be made using an affirmative resolution procedure (see
section 143(4) of the 1988 Act, as amended by paragraph 24 of
Schedule 6 to the Bill). The National Assembly for Wales will
subject the regulations to be made under amended section 58 to
its own scrutiny procedures.
Clause 67: Rating of meters
60. Clause 67 inserts a new subsection 64(2A)
into the Local Government Finance Act 1988. This new subsection
will apply to England and Wales. The clause provides that gas
and electricity meters are hereditaments for rating purposes.
The clause allows the Secretary of State, as respects England,
and the National Assembly for Wales, as respects Wales, to make
an order to include meters of other services within the provision,
for example, water meters. The purpose of the clause is to make
meters separately rateable. Initially, this treatment will be
extended to gas and electricity meters only. But the principle
of making meters subject to separate rating is here established.
In order to include the meters of other types of services in rating
it is thought appropriate that the delegated power be a negative
resolution instrument. Currently the value of the meter is included
in the rateable value of the pipe line or wire network to which
they are attached. So the order would not make these meters the
subject of rating for the first time it would merely make the
meter separately rateable. This has the effect that they are capable
of being occupied separately from the pipe or wire network. If
a competitive market develops for water meters (as it has for
gas and electricity meters).The overall rate liability would,
of course, remain the same. The situation is akin to that of sections
64(3) of the 1988 Act. Under that power the Secretary of State
can deem that one hereditament is to be treated as two hereditaments.
The delegated power in subsection 64(3) is subject to negative
resolution procedure. The clause also provides that the Secretary
of State, as respects England, and the National Assembly for Wales,
as respects Wales, may make regulations to describe what is to
be regarded as a meter. The use of this delegated powers would
enable a clear demarcation to be drawn between the meter hereditament,
any other associated equipment or contiguous hereditament. As
such it will be a technical instrument. By way of a precedent
the delegated powers the Secretary of State currently has in sections
64(3), (3A) and 65(4) are subject to negative resolution procedure.
Clause 71: Local retention of rates
61. Clause 71(1) amends paragraph 4 of Schedule
8 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988 which gives the Secretary
of State the power (subject to Treasury consent) to set, by regulations,
rules as to the deduction by billing authorities of an amount
from their non-domestic rating contribution (the locally retained
amount). This power represents a slight widening of the existing
power of the Secretary of State to make rules as to the calculation
of non-domestic rating contributions but it was not considered
appropriate for these detailed technical regulations (see, for
example, Non-Domestic Contributions (England) Regulations 1992)
to be subject to an affirmative resolution procedure.
62. Clause 71(4) amends section 99 of the Local
Government Finance Act 1988 to enable the Secretary of State to
make regulations requiring billing authorities to share the locally
retained amount between the other major precepting authorities
in its area and as to the administration of this process. The
power in section 99(3) already provides for the Secretary of State
to require sharing of deficits / surpluses in the collection fund
with the major precepting authorities. The existing regulations
(see the Local Authorities (Funds)(England) Regulations 1992)
were made by a negative resolution procedure. Extending the scope
of the section 99 enabling power to the sharing of the locally
retained amount does not have the effect of changing the nature
of the existing power. The Secretary of State will provide a detailed
paper for the Lords Standing Committee consideration of the Bill
on the options for using the delegated powers.
63. Clause 71(7) to (11) makes similar provisions
as respects Wales.
Clause 73: Provision of information
64. Paragraph 5 of Schedule 9 to the Local Government
Finance Act 1988 currently makes it a criminally offence to fail
within 21 days to reply to a notice from the valuation officer
seeking information. Clause 73 replaces the criminal offence with
a system of civil fines.
65. New paragraph 5F enables the Secretary of
State to make regulations as to the information and penalty notices
to be issued to ratepayers. New paragraph 5G enables the Secretary
of State by order to increase or decrease the amount of the fines.
By way of precedent, the fees for applications to court to obtain
committal against ratepayers and various amounts a billing authority
may levy in connection with distress against a ratepayer may be
increased or decreased by statutory instrument made under a negative
resolution procedure (see, for example, regulation 14 of and Schedule
3 to the Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement)(Local
Lists) Regulations 1989 - these amounts were increased by 25%
in 1998 by S.I. 1998 /3089).
Clause 76: Second and empty homes: England
66. Section 11 of the Local Government Finance
Act 1992 ("LGFA 1992") provides for nationally set council
tax discounts. Currently under section 11(1) there is a discount
of 25% where there is only one resident, or all but one of the
residents fall to be disregarded for council tax purposes, and
under section 11(2) there is a discount of 50% where there is
no resident or all residents fall to be disregarded.
67. Billing authorities in Wales already have
power under section 12 of the LGFA 1992 to reduce or remove the
discounts which would otherwise apply under section 11, for classes
of dwellings prescribed in regulations. English authorities have
no such power at present.
68. Clause 76 inserts a new section 11A into
the LGFA 1992 which enables the Secretary of State to prescribe
by regulations classes of dwellings for which an English billing
authority may change the level of council tax discount. Under
subsection (3), the Secretary of State may prescribe a class of
dwellings where the billing authority may reduce but not remove
the discount, and the regulations may not allow for the discount
to be less than 10%. It is proposed to make regulations under
this subsection to define a class of second homes which are not
owned by persons who pay council tax in respect of tied accommodation
elsewhere relating to their work.
69. Under subsection (4), the Secretary of State
may prescribe a class of dwellings where the billing authority
may reduce or remove completely the discount. It is proposed to
make regulations under this subsection to define a class of long
term empty homes (which are not exempt dwellings).
70. Regulations made under the new section 11A
would be subject to the negative resolution procedure, in accordance
with section 113(3) of the LGFA 1992. This is consistent with
the procedure which applied before the creation of the National
Assembly for Wales, for regulations made under section 12 of the
LGFA 1992 to specify the classes of dwellings for which Welsh
billing authorities could reduce the council tax discounts.
Clause 78: Statutory revaluation cycle
71. Clause 78 inserts section 22B into the Local
Government Finance Act 1992, which will provide for a statutory
revaluation cycle for council tax in England and Wales.
72. Section 22B(3) establishes a requirement
for a council tax revaluation every ten years after the first
revaluation, due to take place in England in 2007 and Wales in
2005. The Secretary of State (in England) and the National Assembly
for Wales (in Wales) will be able to make orders under this section
to require the compilation of a new list (and hence revaluation)
sooner than every ten years.
73. The purpose of this power is to give flexibility
in the timing of revaluation so that a shorter cycle could be
introduced. The ODPM has no immediate plans to use this power.
However it is possible that valuation of domestic properties using
computer aided techniques may mean that revaluation could be carried
out more economically in future. A future government might therefore
consider having more frequent revaluation and this power would
allow this to happen without further primary legislation.
74. It would not however be possible to lengthen
the cycle or to remove the requirement for revaluation completely
without further primary legislation. Parliament's intention that
there be regular revaluation of council tax could not thus be
75. Any order made by the Secretary of State
to bring forward the timing of council tax revaluation in England,
will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure in the
House of Commons, in accordance with subsection (11) of the new
76. It was considered that changing the timing
of a council tax revaluation, which would otherwise have been
required by primary legislation, was a matter of sufficient political
importance that the affirmative resolution procedure would be
appropriate. The other critical decisions in respect of council
tax revaluation relate to the substitution, by order, of different
valuation bands and/or different ratios between valuation bands
for those set out for England in section 5(1) of the LGFA 1992.
An order substituting new council tax bands or new ratios between
them, for England, is required to be made by affirmative resolution
of the House of Commons under section 5(5) of the LGFA 1992. We
thought that bringing forward revaluation was a decision of similar
importance, justifying affirmative resolution procedure.
Clause 79: Power to change the number of valuation
77. Section 5(4) of the LGFA 1992 allows the
Secretary of State (in Wales, the National Assembly for Wales,
by virtue of the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions)
Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/672)) by order, to substitute new council
tax valuation bands, and the proportions which the council tax
for valuation bands bear to each other. It is not beyond doubt
that the existing power to substitute bands would allow a different
number of bands to be substituted for the current eight.
78. Clause 79 amends section 5 of the Local Government
Finance Act 1992 by inserting a new subsection (4A). This makes
clear that the Secretary of State (in England) and the National
Assembly for Wales (in Wales) can by order vary the number of
council tax valuation bands at the time of revaluation. The Secretary
of State's orders made under section 5 are subject to the affirmative
resolution procedure in the House of Commons - see section 5(5)
of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
79. One of the main criticisms of the council
tax system is that the bands are not fine grained enough to reflect
differences in value at the top and the bottom of the property
market. The proposed power would ensure that additional bands
could be created if Ministers (or in Wales the National Assembly)
80. Ahead of revaluation in England, Ministers
will consider the views of taxpayers and local government about
council tax bands and will decide nearer the time of revaluation
whether or not there should be additional valuation bands.
Clause 80: Transitional arrangements
81. Section 13 of the LGFA 1992 allows regulations
to be made providing for the council tax payable to be less than
it would otherwise be. This power was exercised to provide a transitional
relief system when the council tax was introduced as a replacement
for the community charge.
82. The White Paper, Strong Local Leadership
- Quality Public Services (Cm 5237) said we will devise a scheme
in which gainers contribute to the costs of losers from the 2007
English revaluation for a transitional period.
83. The Government considers that the national
tax payer should not pay the whole bill for transitional relief
to council tax payers in any particular billing authority's area.
In the same way that transitional relief for non-domestic rating
revaluations is to be "self-financing" the Government
considers that council tax payers who benefit from revaluation
should help pay for transitional relief for council tax payers
in the same billing authority's area who would be worse off following
84. Clause 80 inserts section 13B into the Local
Government Finance Act 1992. This will enable the Secretary of
State (in England) and the National Assembly for Wales (in Wales)
to make regulations to phase in changes to council tax bills following
revaluation. Regulations under section 13B (unlike the existing
section 13) could be used to make "winners" from revaluation
(whose properties would be in a lower band following revaluation)
contribute towards transitional relief for "losers"
from revaluation (whose properties would move up into a higher
band as a result of revaluation).:
85. Until decisions are taken on the detail of
revaluation, as to the new council tax bands, and ratios between
them, it is not possible to say precisely what the transitional
scheme would look like and therefore what would included in the
regulations. Decisions on bands will be taken nearer the time
of revaluation, when the Government has more accurate and up to
date information as to changes in property values and their distribution
86. Regulations under the new section 13B would
be made by negative resolution, in accordance with section 113(3)
of the LGFA 1992. This is consistent with the procedure adopted
for regulations made under section 13 of the LGFA 1992.
Clauses 81 to 83: Enforcement
87. Schedule 4 to the LGFA 1992 enables the Secretary
of State (in Wales the NAW) to make regulations allowing local
authorities to secure payment of any outstanding sum specified
in a liability order. A liability order must be obtained from
the magistrates' court before any of the other enforcement steps
can be taken. Schedule 4 to the LGFA 1992 sets out a number of
detailed and specific enabling powers, providing for different
methods of enforcement. The detailed requirements are set out
in the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations
1992 (S.I. 1992/613), as amended.
Clause 81: Amendments relating to distress
88. Under paragraph 5 of Schedule 4 to the LGFA
1992, regulations can be made allowing billing authorities to
make an attachment of earnings order, so that the outstanding
council tax can be recovered by requiring the debtor's employer
to deduct amounts from the debtor's pay. Quite often, a local
authority only finds out about a debtor's employment details late
in the enforcement process, after the authority has tried other
enforcement mechanisms provided by regulations under Schedule
4, including seeking to levy distress (permitted by regulations
under paragraph 7 of Schedule 4), and if that proves unsuccessful,
by applying to magistrates for a warrant to commit the debtor
to prison (permitted by regulations under paragraph 8 of Schedule
89. For example, a person may only reveal their
employment details during the hearing of the application for a
warrant to commit him to prison, since the magistrates are required
to inquire into the debtor's means before they can issue such
a warrant. Where this happens, rather than proceed with the application
for the warrant of commitment, the billing authority is likely
to serve an attachment of earnings order. However, only the amount
specified in the original liability order can at present be recovered
through attachment of earnings. This will include the outstanding
amount of council tax, plus a sum in respect of the costs of obtaining
the liability order (in accordance with regulations made under
paragraph 3 of Schedule 4 to the LGFA 1992). It will not, however,
include any costs incurred trying to levy distress after the issue
of the liability order or any costs incurred during the hearing
of the application for the warrant of commitment itself.
90. Clause 81(1), (2) and (3) will enable regulations
to be made providing for costs incurred in trying to levy distress
or incurred during the aborted hearing of the application for
the warrant of commitment to be recoverable through an attachment
of earnings order. A regulation making power was chosen, as this
is consistent with the existing statutory framework governing
the administration and enforcement of council tax, in Schedule
4 of the LGFA.
91. Clause 81(4) amends paragraph 7 of Schedule
4 to the LGFA by inserting a new sub-paragraph (4A). This will
enable regulations to be made by the Secretary of State (in Wales
the NAW) to prescribe information which authorities or bailiffs
must supply to debtors when distress has been levied or when distress
has been attempted unsuccessfully. The existing paragraph 7(4)(a)
of Schedule 4 only allows the imposition of requirements on local
authorities to supply information prior to the levy of distress.
There are no powers to impose requirements to supply information
when the process is complete or when someone tries to levy distress
92. Any regulations made by the Secretary of
State under the new provisions inserted into Schedule 4 of the
LGFA 1992 by clause 81 will be subject to the negative resolution
procedure in the same way as regulations made under the existing
provisions of Schedule 4, by virtue of section 113(3) of the LGFA
Clause 82: Charging orders: aggregation
93. Paragraph 11 of Schedule 4 to the LGFA 1992
enables billing authorities to apply to the county court for a
charge against the debtor's dwelling for which the council tax
remains unpaid, in respect of a liability order made by the magistrates'
court. Regulation 50 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement)
Regulations 1992 stipulates that at the time of the application
for the charging order, at least £1000 of the amount for
which the liability order was made must remain outstanding.
94. Clause 82 enables local authorities to aggregate
two or more liability orders made against the same person to meet
the £1000 limit to enable an application for a charging order.
The clause inserts a new paragraph 11A into Schedule 4 to the
LGFA 1992 to allow regulations made under that Schedule to include
95. Any regulations made by the Secretary of
State under the new paragraph 11A inserted into Schedule 4 of
the LGFA 1992 by clause 82 will be subject to the negative resolution
procedure in the same way as regulations made under the existing
provisions of Schedule 4, by virtue of section 113(3) of the LGFA
Clause 83: Quashing of liability orders
96. When a taxpayer falls behind with their council
tax, billing authorities have to apply to the magistrates' court
for a liability order before they can seek to use various powers
to recover the debt. There are relatively few defences against
the making of a liability order - these include the fact that
an amount has not properly been demanded or that the amount has
been paid. Unless a defence is accepted by the court, the order
will be granted. In practice very few are refused.
97. However, it can emerge after the liability
order has been made that a mistake has occurred, for example,
the taxpayer may later find receipts proving that he had paid.
In such cases, no action should be taken under the liability order.
However, some taxpayers view the liability order as an unwarranted
stain on their character and demand that the liability order be
deleted from the record. At present, this can only be achieved
on application to a higher court. The cost involved is unwarranted
where there is no dispute about the facts.
98. Clause 83 (which inserts into Schedule 4
to the LGFA 1992 a new paragraph 12A) allows the Secretary of
State (in Wales the NAW) to make regulations giving magistrates'
courts powers to quash a liability order if the court is satisfied
that the liability order should not have been made. This only
applies where the local authority has applied to have the liability
order quashed. It does not give council taxpayers a right to require
magistrates' courts to reconsider all liability orders made.
99. New paragraph 12A(b) enables regulations
to be made permitting the magistrates' courts to substitute a
liability order for a lower amount where it considers that a liability
order could properly have been made had it been made for that
lower amount (which would include a sum for the costs incurred
in obtaining the original order).
100. A regulation-making power was chosen as
it is consistent with the existing legal framework for obtaining
liability orders under Schedule 4 of the LGFA 1992. Any regulations
made by the Secretary of State under the new paragraph 12A inserted
into Schedule 4 of the LGFA 1992 by clause 83 will be subject
to the negative resolution procedure in the same way as regulations
made under the existing provisions of Schedule 4, by virtue of
section 113(3) of the LGFA 1992.
Clause 84(2): Major precepting authorities: combined
fire authorities in Wales
101. Clause 84 adds combined fire authorities
in England to the list of major precepting authorities in the
Local Government Finance Act 1992. The constituent authorities
which make up a combined fire authority currently contribute to
its expenses in proportion to their council tax base. Under the
proposed new arrangements, a combined fire authority would issue
a precept for each financial year to the billing authorities in
102. The Welsh Assembly Government consulted
on the position in Wales. The view which emerged was that no change
should be made at present to the status of combined fire authorities
in Wales. If circumstances were to change, subsection (2) of clause
84 provides a power to allow the National Assembly for Wales to
make an order to add Welsh combined fire authorities to the list
of major precepting authorities. While this is a "Henry VIII"
power, allowing the National Assembly to amend primary legislation,
it is very narrowly drawn.
103. Subsection (3) of clause 84 will require
the National Assembly for Wales to consult representatives of
local government in Wales, and such other bodies or persons as
it considers appropriate before making any such order. Any such
order will be subject to the National Assembly for Wales's own
procedures in accordance with its standing orders.
104. The National Assembly for Wales would (by
virtue of clause 122 of the Bill) be able to include in such an
order the necessary consequential amendment to section 6(1A) of
the Fire Services Act 1947 (which is to be inserted by paragraph
1 of Schedule 6), so that combination scheme orders for Welsh
combined fire authorities need not contain provisions as to the
contributions to the CFA's expenses to be made by the constituent
authorities. Clause 122 would also allow the National Assembly
for Wales to make consequential amendments, equivalent to those
contained in Part 2 of Schedule 7, to the combination scheme orders
establishing the Welsh combined fire authorities.