§ Ms Beverley Hughes
We received 68 responses to our consultation paper on rate relief for farm diversification, copies of which are available through the Library of the House.
In the light of our consultation, we are proposing to implement a scheme to allow 50 per cent. rate relief for an initial period for five years to all now small businesses established on property that was previously subject to the agricultural exemption from rates.
We also intend to implement the proposals in "Modernising Local Government Finance: A Green Paper", published last September, for extending the rate relief scheme for village shops to provide mandatory relief to certain food shops, pubs and petrol filling stations.
Legislation to implement these proposals will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows. They are a significant contribution to realising the vision set out in the White Paper, "Our countryside: the future".