(1) For the year 1967–68 and subsequent years, an authority to which this section applies shall, notwithstanding anything in Part V of the Local Government Act 1948, section 24(2) of the Valuation and Rating (Scotland) Act 1956 or section 3(1) of the Gas Act 1965, be liable to be rated in respect of any shop, room or other place occupied and used by the authority wholly or mainly for the sale, display or demonstration of apparatus or accessories for use by consumers of gas or, as the case may be, electricity; and accordingly any such shop, room or other place shall be included in the valuation roll for the area in which it is situated.
(2) In determining whether any such shop, room or other place is wholly or mainly occupied and used as aforesaid, use for the receipt of payments for gas or electricity consumed shall be disregarded.
(3) This section applies to the following authorities, that is to say, any area board constituted for an area in Scotland under the Gas Act 1948, the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and the South of Scotland Electricity Board.—[Mr. Ross.]
I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.
At the same time as administrative offices of the nationalised industries are being rated, the opportunity is taken in this Clause to bring Scotland into line with England and Wales as regards gas and electricity board showrooms. In England, these have been rated since 1959. The justification is that the boards' showrooms are exactly comparable to the shops and showrooms of private firms. In this case, unlike the rating of offences, it is intended to offset the new rating liability by a reduction in the global sums payable by the gas and electricity boards.
This was done south of the Border in 1959 and it would be wrong to treat the Scottish boards more harshly than the English boards were treated.
Mr. Edward M. Taylor:
Again, we welcome the new Clause, because there has clearly been a considerable extension in the activities of both boards in the provision of demonstration showrooms, particularly since the Clean Air Act came into operation and people were encouraged to make the best use of new and modern equipment. We are also pleased to learn that the effects on the boards will probably be a little less harsh than we envisaged, because there was no general indication that an adjustment would be made in the global sum.
On the other hand, the position is made clear about the previous new Clause that there will be no adjustment in the global sum. We can consider this when we come to new Clause 5. By and large, however, we welcome the Clause and will support it.