§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he has taken to review(a) the level of business rate which is paid by supermarkets in Wales and (b) the basis on which their liability to uniform business rate is calculated. 
Mr. Jon Owen Jones
The current level of business rates paid by supermarkets in Wales is based on their rateable values, the "poundage" or "uniform business rate" fixed each year by the Secretary of State and the impact of any provisions for relief or exemptions. The rateable values broadly represent annual rentals for which the property might have been let on the open market in 1993, and are assessed using evidence of actual rents. All retail outlets in Wales are valued on this rental comparative method.
No steps have been taken to review the level of rates paid by supermarkets. The next revaluation of all rateable values takes effect on 1 April 2000 and will be based on market rents on 1 April 1998.
Following the transfer of functions this will be a matter for the National Assembly.