HC Deb 19 March 2002 vol 382 cc219-21W
Bob Spink

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what types of premises are zero-rated for local taxation. [43937]

Dr. Whitehead

The information is as follows:

Non-Domestic Rates

The Local Government Finance Act 1988, schedule 5, exempts the following types of non-domestic property from business rating:

  • Agricultural land and buildings;
  • Fish farms;
  • Places of religious worship;
  • Lighthouses and related property used by Trinity House;
  • Sewers;
  • Land and structures used by drainage authorities;
  • Public parks;
  • Property used for the training of the disabled, and the provision of welfare services to them;
  • Air raid protection works;
  • Swinging moorings for boats and ships, i.e. moorings which are not connected to the river bank or shore, but to the river or sea bed;
  • Road crossings over water courses;
  • Property used for road user charging schemes;
  • Property in enterprise zones; and
  • Property occupied by visiting armed forces, such as air force bases.

Under section 45 of the Local Government Finance Act, empty non-domestic properties are exempt from rates for the first three months. After that period 50 per cent. of the full rates are levied on the property, unless it falls within a prescribed type, in which case it continues to be entirely exempt from rates while unoccupied. The most significant type that remains exempt after three months is industrial property such as factories, warehouses, and mineral workings. Other types of property which remain exempt are: listed buildings; buildings with rateable values of less than £1,900; buildings which the owners are prohibited by law from occupying or which are kept vacant by the actions of a public body; and buildings whose owners are either bankrupts, or are insolvent companies which are being wound up.

Diplomatic non-domestic property is exempt from rates by virtue of the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964. However, premises occupied by diplomatic missions and visiting armed forces pay a contribution in lieu of a proportion of the rates due on the property, to reflect the use they make of local authority services, currently 6 per cent. of the full rate liability.

Under the Local Government Finance Act 1988 various reliefs are available to ratepayers. In some cases, local authorities have discretion to give relief up to 100 per cent., so their occupiers pay no rates. In some of these cases this is a top-up on a lower level of mandatory relief. 100 per cent. relief is available, at local authority discretion, to charities, small businesses in designated rural settlements, and new small-scale farm diversification enterprises, ratepayers suffering hardship and non-profit making bodies engaged in philanthropic, cultural, sporting and other activities.

Council Tax

Certain classes of domestic property are exempt from the council tax. These are set out in the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992. They are: Class A: Empty and substantially unfurnished dwellings where works are required, underway or recently completed (valid for up to 12 months); Class B: Empty dwellings owned by charities (valid for up to six months); Class C: Dwellings left empty and substantially unfurnished (valid for up to six months); Class D: Dwellings left empty by prisoners; Class E: Dwellings left empty by patients in hospitals and care homes; Class F: Dwellings left empty by deceased persons; Class G: Dwellings where occupation is prohibited by public law; Class H: Empty clergy dwellings; Class I: Dwellings left empty by people receiving care; Class J: Dwellings left empty by people providing care; Class K: Dwellings left empty by students; Class L: Repossessed dwellings; Class M: Student halls of residence; Class N: Dwellings occupied only by students or school leavers; Class O: Armed forces' accommodation; Class P: Visiting armed forces' accommodation; Class Q: Dwellings left empty by bankrupts; Class R: Empty caravan pitches and boat moorings; Class S: Dwellings occupied by minors only; Class T: Empty annexes which cannot be let separately; Class U: Dwellings occupied only by persons who are severely mentally impaired; Class V: Dwellings occupied by persons with diplomatic privilege or immunity; Class W: Annexes occupied by dependent relatives.

Ms Buck

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the(a) actual and (b) percentage change expressed in real terms was in total external support for Westminster city council in each year from 1990–91 to 2002–03. [43504]

Dr. Whitehead

Westminster city council have reported the following total central Government support for revenue expenditure. Total figures for 2002–03 are not yet available.

Westminster city council total central Government support for revenue expenditure1
Total (cash terms) £ million Total at 2001–02 prices2 £ million Percentage change (real terms)2
1990–91 158.9 217.0
1991–92 187.3 241.2 11.1
1992–93 224.2 279.5 15.9
1993–94 195.4 237.8 -14.9
1994–95 198.3 238.2 0.2
1995–96 202.9 237.0 -0.5
1996–97 200.2 226.6 -4.4
1997–98 208.9 229.4 1.3
1998–99 205.7 219.8 -4.2
1999–2000 214.9 224.2 2.0
2000–01 224.0 229.6 2.4
2001–02 235.6 235.6 2.6
1 This comprises of aggregate external finance (AEF). AEF is central Government support towards total standard spending. It comprises revenue support grant, redistributed non-domestic rates, and certain specific, supplementary and special grants. For Westminster city council these include SSA reduction grant (1994–95 onwards) and central support protection grant (1999–2000 onwards).
2 Real terms at 2001–02 prices calculated using the GDP deflator.


Information for Newcastle upon Tyne Band A Band B Band C Band D Band E Band F Band G Band H Total
Number of dwellings on the valuation list as at 16 October 2001 73,187 17,198 16,451 7,194 3,535 1,648 1,295 114 120,622
Exemption Class M—A hall of residence provided predominantly for the accommodation of students. 375 507 138 8 1 1 0 14 1,044
Exemption Class N—A dwelling which is occupied only by students, the foreign spouses of students, or school and college leavers. 1,577 794 422 186 84 10 4 0 3,077
Total for Exemption Classes M and N 1,952 1,301 560 194 85 11 4 14 4,121
Number of dwellings classed as empty or second homes as at 1 November 2001. 2,535 481 360 207 102 70 58 19 3,832