HL Deb 08 May 2001 vol 625 c183WA
Lord Harrison

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In view of the concerns of small businesses recently confirmed by a survey by the forum of private business, what proposals they have for reform of the uniform business rate; and whether they will consider a reform based on the size of business. [HL2086]

Lord Whitty

We set out a number of proposals concerning the national non-domestic rate in our Green PaperModernising Local Government Finance (September 2000). These included a scheme of rate relief for all small businesses. This would provide rate relief of 50 per cent for properties with rateable values up to £3,000, with the relief being gradually reduced for properties with higher values: there would be no relief for properties with rateable values above £8,000. It was also proposed to target this relief explicitly at small firms (as opposed to small properties) so long as this could be done without making the rules too complicated. We therefore invited views on whether the relief should also take account of the turnover of the ratepayer's business or the number of employees.

We are considering the many responses we received to the Green Paper, including that from the Forum of Private Business. A summary of responses has been published on the DETR website. We will be setting out the way forward in a White Paper later this year after further discussions with the forum and others.