§ 37. Mr. Ruffley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent representations he has received regarding the level of business rates for small businesses. 
§ Ms Armstrong
I have received representations from small businesses welcoming the transitional relief scheme announced on 25 November and calling for a rate relief scheme for small businesses.
The transitional relief scheme, which favours small businesses, will phase in significant changes in rate bills resulting from the revaluation on 1 April. In addition many small businesses will benefit from the revaluation itself and the reduction in the multiplier to 41.6p for every £1 of rateable value.
We set out a possible rate relief scheme for small businesses in our White Paper, "Modern Local Government: In Touch with the People" (1998). We have discussed this scheme with representatives of small businesses, and we aim next to hold a public consultation exercise on the details of the scheme.