HC Deb 10 December 1992 vol 215 cc739-40W
Mr. Harvey

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to encourage local authorities to use their powers to reduce the burden of business rates in cases of hardship.

Mr. Redwood

Local authorities are able to offset 75 per cent. of the cost of granting hardship relief against the non-domestic rates pool. Guidance on the relief was issued to authorities in 1990, but discretion as to when, and whether, to use the powers lies entirely with them having regard to the interests of their community charge payers.

Mr. Barry Field

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to introduce an incentive for local authorities to notify the Valuation Office of new non-domestic property in their area to ensure that rating lists are kept properly up to date.

Mr. Redwood

We have today laid regulations that will allow billing authorities to retain until the end of the year the benefit of any additional rates they collect when non-domestic property is improved or first included in the rating list. The new arrangements will apply from 1 April 1993. This will, I am sure, be a welcome incentive to local authorities.

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