HC Deb 20 December 1989 vol 164 cc328-9W
Mr. Knapman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what will be the level of the uniform business rate in England in 1990–91; and what will be the effect on rate bills of the uniform business rate and of the non-domestic revaluation.

Mr. Chris Patten

I intend to specify in the revenue support grant report, which will be laid before the House in the new year, a non-domestic rate of 34.8p in the pound for England for the year 1990–91. This is lower than the provisional figure which I announced in November because the results of the non-domestic revaluation indicate that, on average, rateable values will increase by eight times, slightly more than earlier forecasts. By fixing the poundage at this level we are meeting our undertaking to raise from private business and the nationalised industries in real terms broadly the same amount in rates as in 1989–90. This poundage takes account of inflation, measured by the annual rate of increase of 7.6 per cent. in the retail prices index for September 1989.

The valuation office is sending to local authorities today drafts of the new rating lists. Authorities are required to deposit these at their principal offices as soon as practicable. Some authorities may not be able to make them available for public inspection until 2 January. The lists will also be available for inspection at local valuation offices from that date. The draft lists take effect on 1 April 1990. Some of the values which they contain may change before that date in the light of later information.

I am placing in the Library an anlysis of the combined effects of the introduction of the uniform business rate and of the revaluation. In general this confirms the results of the Inland Revenue survey published in July, subject to the slight increase in the average revaluation factor which I have mentioned.

Factories and warehouses will on average see reductions in rate bills everywhere except in inner London. Shops and offices, on the other hand, will on average attract higher bills, except in the north and midlands where average rate bills for properties of this type will fall. Overall, once the transition is complete, the rate burden on businesses in the north and midlands will be reduced by about £930 million in real terms.

The analysis also shows the effects of the uniform business rate and of revaluation in Wales, where the rate will be 36.8p in 1990–91, as announced by my right hon. Friend on 18 December.