When the review is completed, will my right hon. Friend take action as quickly as possible on the recommendations in view of the continuing but admittedly necessary increase in the rates burden? When the time comes, will he consider publishing some of the conclusions which are reached?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is over seven months since the decision to carry out this reform was announced by the Minister of Housing and Local Government, and that if no conclusion is to be reached until the Allen Committee has reported—and since this Committee does not report until the autumn—it means that there will be no major changes before the new rate demands go out in April next year? At this rate of progress I shall have grown a long white beard before there is any rating reform.
I do not know whether that is a threat or a hope on the part of the hon. Member, but to effect any reform in the rating system will involve legislation, and consultation with local authorities. Therefore, it is bound to take a considerable time.