§ Sir Anthony Durant
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average percentage increase in property valuations for business rate purposes by the Inland Revenue for(a) Reading town centre and (b) the Oxford road, Reading, and the number of appeals received and the number of appeals completed. 
§ Mrs. Angela Knight
Broad street is the main street in Reading town centre, and comprises mostly shops, where rateable values have increased by about 27 per cent. on average in the 1995 rating list above their previous 1990 list levels.
In Oxford road, Reading, rateable values of shops have generally remained unchanged.
To date, the valuation officer at Reading has received 50 appeals for Broad street shops and 46 appeals for Oxford street shops. No appeals have been settled so far but discussions with ratepayers are expected to begin soon.
Outside London, rate increases, in 1996–97 are limited to 5 per cent. for small businesses, 7.5 per cent. for legal businesses and 2.5 per cent. for composite properties after inflation.