Local Government Bill - continued        House of Lords

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  S C H E D U L E S
 
 

 
 
 
SCHEDULE 1
 
  LIMITATION OF COUNCIL TAX AND PRECEPTS
  PART I
  THE NEW CHAPTER
     1. In Part I of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 the following Chapter shall be inserted after Chapter IV-
 
  "CHAPTER IVA
  LIMITATION OF COUNCIL TAX AND PRECEPTS
 
Introduction
Interpretation.     52A. - (1) In this Chapter a reference to an authority is to-
 
 
    (a) a billing authority, or
 
    (b) a major precepting authority.
      (2) Sections 52W and 52X below contain other interpretative provisions for the purposes of this Chapter.
 
 
Designation or nomination
Power to designate or nominate authorities.     52B. - (1) If in the Secretary of State's opinion the amount calculated by an authority as its budget requirement for a financial year (the year under consideration) is excessive, he may exercise his power to designate or nominate the authority under section 52D below.
 
      (2) The question whether the amount so calculated is excessive must be decided in accordance with a set of principles determined by the Secretary of State.
 
      (3) A set of principles-
 
 
    (a) may contain one principle or two or more principles;
 
    (b) must constitute or include a comparison falling within subsection (4) below or comparisons each of which falls within subsection (4).
      (4) A comparison falls within this subsection if-
 
 
    (a) it is between the amount calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for the year under consideration and the amount calculated by it as its budget requirement for a financial year falling before the year under consideration;
 
    (b) the earlier financial year in the comparison does not fall before that beginning with 1st April 1998.
      (5) If for the purposes of this section the Secretary of State determines categories of authorities for the year under consideration-
 
 
    (a) any principles determined for the year must be such that the same set is determined for all authorities (if more than one) falling within the same category;
 
    (b) as regards an authority which does not fall within any of the categories, the Secretary of State may not exercise his power to designate or nominate the authority under section 52D below by reference to the excessiveness of its budget requirement for the year.
      (6) If he does not determine such categories, any principles determined for the year under consideration must be such that the same set is determined for all authorities.
 
      (7) In determining categories of authorities for the year under consideration the Secretary of State shall take into account any information he thinks is relevant.
 
      (8) In applying this section the Secretary of State shall ignore any calculation for which another has been substituted at the time designation or nomination is proposed.
 
Alternative notional amounts.     52C. - (1) The Secretary of State may make a report specifying in relation to-
 
 
    (a) any year under consideration (within the meaning of section 52B above), and
 
    (b) any authority,
  an amount which in his opinion should be used as the basis of any comparison in applying that section in place of the amount calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for a financial year falling before the year under consideration.
 
      (2) References in this section to the alternative notional amount are to the amount so specified.
 
      (3) A report under this section-
 
 
    (a) may relate to two or more authorities;
 
    (b) may be amended by a subsequent report under this section;
 
    (c) shall contain such explanation as the Secretary of State thinks desirable of the calculation by him of the alternative notional amount;
 
    (d) shall be laid before the House of Commons.
      (4) If a report under this section is approved by resolution of the House of Commons section 52B above shall have effect, as regards the year under consideration and any authority to which the report relates, as if the reference in subsection (4) to the amount calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for a financial year falling before the year under consideration were to the alternative notional amount for the year so falling.
 
Designation or nomination.     52D. - (1) This section applies if in the Secretary of State's opinion (reached after applying section 52B above) the amount calculated by an authority as its budget requirement for the year under consideration is excessive.
 
      (2) In such a case he may-
 
 
    (a) designate the authority as regards the year under consideration, or
 
    (b) nominate the authority.
      (3) The Secretary of State may proceed under different paragraphs of subsection (2) above in relation to different authorities.
 
 
Designation for year under consideration
Designation.     52E. - (1) This section applies if the Secretary of State designates an authority under section 52D(2)(a) above as regards the year under consideration.
 
      (2) He shall notify the authority in writing of-
 
 
    (a) the designation;
 
    (b) the set of principles determined for the authority under section 52B above;
 
    (c) the category in which the authority falls (if he determines categories under section 52B above);
 
    (d) the amount which he proposes should be the maximum for the amount calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for the year;
 
    (e) the target amount for the year, that is, the maximum amount which he proposes the authority could calculate as its budget requirement for the year without the amount calculated being excessive;
 
    (f) the financial year as regards which he expects the amount calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for that year to be equal to or less than the target amount for that year (assuming one to be determined for that year).
      (3) A designation under section 52D(2)(a) above-
 
 
    (a) is invalid unless subsection (2) above is complied with;
 
    (b) shall be treated as made at the beginning of the day on which the authority receives a notification under that subsection.
      (4) If-
 
 
    (a) an authority has been designated under section 52D(2)(a) above, and
 
    (b) after the designation is made the authority makes substitute calculations in relation to the year,
  the substitute calculations shall be invalid unless they are made in accordance with section 52I or 52J below (as the case may be).
 
      (5) Before the end of the period of 21 days beginning with the day it receives a notification under this section, an authority may inform the Secretary of State by notice in writing that-
 
 
    (a) for reasons stated in the notice, it believes the maximum amount stated under subsection (2)(d) above should be such as the authority states in its notice, or
 
    (b) it accepts the maximum amount stated under subsection (2)(d) above.
Challenge of maximum amount.     52F. - (1) This section applies if an authority designated under section 52D(2)(a) above informs the Secretary of State by notice in writing under section 52E(5)(a) above.
 
      (2) After considering any information falling within subsection (3) below the Secretary of State shall either-
 
 
    (a) proceed under subsection (4) below (in which case subsections (5) to (10) below shall also apply), or
 
    (b) proceed under subsection (11) below.
      (3) Information falling within this subsection is-
 
 
    (a) information which is supplied by the authority and is of a kind and provided in a form specified by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this section;
 
    (b) any other information he thinks is relevant.
      (4) If he proceeds under this subsection the Secretary of State-
 
 
    (a) shall make an order stating the amount which the amount calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for the year is not to exceed;
 
    (b) may alter the target amount for the year.
      (5) The following paragraphs apply for the purposes of subsection (4) above-
 
 
    (a) the amount stated under subsection (4)(a) above may not exceed the amount already calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for the year unless in the Secretary of State's opinion the authority failed to comply with section 32 or 43 above (as the case may be) in making the calculation;
 
    (b) subject to paragraph (a) above, the amount stated under subsection (4)(a) above may be the same as, or greater or smaller than, that stated in the notice under section 52E(2)(d) above;
 
    (c) the Secretary of State may alter the target amount for the year under subsection (4)(b) above only if the amount stated under subsection (4)(a) above is greater or smaller than that stated in the notice under section 52E(2)(d) above.
      (6) In the application of subsection (5)(a) above in relation to the Greater London Authority-
 
 
    (a) for the reference to section 43 above there shall be substituted a reference to sections 70 and 71 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, and
 
    (b) at the end there shall be added the words "or he has issued a direction for the year under section 80 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999".
      (7) An order under this section-
 
 
    (a) shall not be made unless a draft of it has been laid before and approved by resolution of the House of Commons;
 
    (b) may relate to two or more authorities.
      (8) As soon as is reasonably practicable after an order under this section is made the Secretary of State shall serve on the authority (or each authority) a notice stating-
 
 
    (a) the amount stated in the case of the authority concerned in the order;
 
    (b) the altered target amount for the year (if he alters it in the case of the authority concerned).
      (9) When he serves a notice under subsection (8) above on a precepting authority the Secretary of State shall also serve a copy of it on each billing authority to which the precepting authority has power to issue a precept.
 
      (10) In applying subsection (5)(a) above the Secretary of State shall ignore any calculation for which another has been substituted at the time of designation.
 
      (11) If the Secretary of State proceeds under this subsection he shall-
 
 
    (a) cancel the designation of the authority under section 52D(2)(a) above as regards the year and notify the authority in writing of the cancellation, and
 
    (b) nominate the authority under section 52D(2)(b) above;
  and in such a case the designation under section 52D(2)(a) above and the notification under section 52E above shall be treated as not having been made.
 
Acceptance of maximum amount.     52G. - (1) This section applies if an authority designated under section 52D(2)(a) above informs the Secretary of State by notice in writing under section 52E(5)(b) above.
 
      (2) As soon as is reasonably practicable after he receives the notice the Secretary of State shall serve on the authority a notice stating the amount which the amount calculated by it as its budget requirement for the year is not to exceed; and the amount stated shall be that stated in the notice under section 52E(2)(d) above.
 
      (3) When he serves a notice under subsection (2) above on a precepting authority the Secretary of State shall also serve a copy of it on each billing authority to which the precepting authority has power to issue a precept.
 
No challenge or acceptance.     52H. - (1) This section applies if the period mentioned in section 52E(5) above ends without an authority designated under section 52D(2)(a) above informing the Secretary of State by notice in writing under paragraph (a) or (b) of section 52E(5).
 
      (2) As soon as is reasonably practicable after the period ends the Secretary of State shall make an order stating the amount which the amount calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for the year is not to exceed; and the amount stated shall be that stated in the notice under section 52E(2)(d) above.
 
      (3) An order under this section-
 
 
    (a) shall not be made unless a draft of it has been laid before and approved by resolution of the House of Commons;
 
    (b) may relate to two or more authorities.
      (4) As soon as is reasonably practicable after an order under this section is made the Secretary of State shall serve on the authority (or each authority) a notice stating the amount stated in the case of the authority concerned in the order.
 
      (5) When he serves a notice under subsection (4) above on a precepting authority the Secretary of State shall also serve a copy of it on each billing authority to which the precepting authority has power to issue a precept.
 
Duty of designated billing authority.     52I. - (1) If a billing authority receives a notice under section 52F(8), 52G(2) or 52H(4) above it shall make substitute calculations in relation to the year in accordance with sections 32 to 36 above, ignoring section 32(10) above for this purpose.
 
      (2) The substitute calculations shall be made so as to secure-
 
 
    (a) that the amount calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for the year does not exceed that stated in the notice, and
 
    (b) that any amount calculated under section 33(1) or 34(2) or (3) above as the basic amount of council tax applicable to any dwelling does not exceed that so calculated in the previous calculations.
      (3) Subsection (2)(b) above does not apply in a case where the amount stated in the notice exceeds that already calculated by the authority as its budget requirement for the year.
 
      (4) In making substitute calculations under section 33(1) or 34(3) above the authority must use any amount determined in the previous calculations for item P or T in section 33(1) or item TP in section 34(3).
 
      (5) For the purposes of subsection (4) above the authority may treat any amount determined in the previous calculations for item P in section 33(1) above as increased by the amount of any sum which-
 
 
    (a) it estimates will be payable for the year into its general fund in respect of additional grant, and
 
    (b) was not taken into account by it in making those calculations.
      (6) References in this section to the amount stated in the notice are, in the case of a notice under section 52F(8) above, to the amount stated under section 52F(8)(a).
 
 
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