My Lords, I am not sure that the Whips’ Office has jurisdiction in these matters. The amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Flight, deals with a local authority’s arrangements for gathering council tax payments and business rates. However, there is another very important form of taxation when discussing these matters, which is taxes raised by the Inland Revenue—that is my explicit interest in Amendment 16, as spoken to by the noble Baroness. We now have a booming rental market in the United Kingdom, with programmes on television promoting buy to rent and organisations issuing leaflets and sending them to people’s homes explaining the benefits of buy-to-rent arrangements. A lot of people should be paying taxes on rental income.
Take a flat in London with two bedrooms, costing £500 a week or £25,000 a year. There will be many examples in London of people gathering in very substantial rents, even on just one property, who through some means or another are simply not declaring it to the Inland Revenue. Any system, including the system promoted by the noble Lord, Lord Flight, would be helpful in itself, but the system proposed by my noble friend, of a mandatory register of all private landlords, would certainly be very helpful in enabling the HMRC— which I keep referring to as the Inland Revenue, being a bit old-fashioned about these matters—to identify those people who should be paying tax on their rental income. The Inland Revenue are missing a trick here, because I suspect that there are probably billions in unpaid taxes on rentals which are not declared to the Revenue.