asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps, in view of the increase in the burden of rates which is likely to fall on the occupiers of shops and offices when the new valuation lists come into force in 1956, he will take to minimise the loss which local authorities suffer from the derating of industrial premises, the consequence of which is to throw an added burden on to the occupiers of other premises including, in particular, occupiers of shops and offices.
In view of the fact that certain local authorities have been receiving no compensation for loss resulting from derating, and as the occupiers of shops and offices are likely to be adversely affected by the new assessments, and are particularly concerned about this matter, can the Minister give any assurance that, pending the abolition of derating, grants will be made to local authorities to compensate them for the loss which they will suffer from derating?
As I explained to the House on an earlier occasion, the Government have decided to undertake a full review of local government finances as a whole as part of the problem of local government reorganisation and reform. I have given this assurance before and I will repeat it now. All aspects of local government finance will come within the purview of this examination, including, of course, the question of the derating of industry. Pending the outcome of that review, I should not like to prejudge the issue.