HL Deb 15 June 1998 vol 590 cc109-10WA
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will announce the submission of further areas to the European Commission as candidate Special Areas of Conservation. [HL2265]

Baroness Hayman

A further list of UK proposals was sent to the European Commission on 12 June. This consists of 14 new candidate Special Areas of Conservation, boundary extensions to eight existing sites already submitted to the Commission as candidate

exemption from non-domestic rates in England, Wales and Scotland. We have decided to bring these provisions into force with effect from 1 April 2000. From that date, Crown property will be subject to non-domestic rates in the same way as property occupied by other ratepayers. We will make orders to commence the relevant parts of the 1997 Act in due course.

It has been government policy since the late nineteenth century that property occupied for the public service, including government departments, should make contributions in lieu of rates on the same basis as if they were rateable. Abolishing Crown exemption will give this policy a legal foundation and bring the Crown into line with other ratepayers.