§ 22. Mr. Riddick
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to introduce rate relief for village shops and post offices. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
The Local Government and Rating Bill, which was introduced on 24 October, will give 50 per cent. mandatory rate relief to certain general stores and post offices in villages of 3,000 people or less. This will halve their bills. Local authorities will be able to top the relief up to 100 per cent., if they choose.
The Bill will also give local authorities significant new discretionary powers which will enable them to reduce or waive the rates bills of any other business in the village which is important to the local community.