The House of Commons returns today with the firs day ‘s main debate being the Second Reading of the Local Government Finance Bill which will allow the local retention of Business rates by local Councils. It also provides for Council Tax benefit to be determined locally and allows local councils to decide what level of discount to allow for empty properties. Equally it introduces a discretionary ’empty homes levy’ to allow local authorities to charge up to 150% of the Council Tax bill where the property has been empty for more than two years.
Tomorrow, in addition to the first Prime Ministers Questions of 2012 the main business is a debate on a topic to be decided by the opposition the motion for which is not on the order paper yet. I have been selected to serve on a public Bill Committee which will be considering the Details of the Local Government Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill in the morning and in the afternoon I will be attending a public evidence session being held by the Procedure Committee as part of the ongoing enquiry into the sitting hours and days of the House.
On Thursday the business is determined by the Backbench Business Committee and will see debates being held on pub companies and parliamentary representation.