HL Deb 16 January 1984 vol 446 cc919-20WA
Lord Graham of Edmonton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether farm and horticultural buildings from which the sale of produce and other goods to the public takes place on a regular basis are rateable; and, if so, on what basis such assessments are determined.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Lord Bellwin)

Yes. Although agricultural buildings are exempt from rates where they are used solely in connection with agricultural operations, the courts have held that the retail sale of local or imported produce does not constitute an agricultural operation. A property used for such retail sales would be assessed in the normal manner, unless the retail operation were so small that the effect on the rateable value would be minimal. The rateable value would he based on the annual rent that the property would have commanded on the open market at the time of the last revaluation.