§ Janet Anderson
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what council tax business rates relief is available to homes providing residential or nursing care for the elderly. 
§ Mr. Leslie
There is no business rates relief available specifically for homes that provide residential or nursing care for the elderly. However, there are existing mandatory and discretionary rate relief available to ratepayers under the rating system and under certain circumstances homes that provide residential and nursing care for the elderly can qualify for these reliefs.
To qualify for mandatory rate relief, the ratepayer must be a charity or a non-profit making body operating as a charity and use the property they occupy wholly or mainly for charitable purposes. Mandatory relief is available at 80 per cent. of the full rates bill, is fully centrally funded and can be topped up to 100 per cent. at the discretion of the local authority. The discretionary top-up is 25 per cent. centrally funded, and local authorities are required to meet 75 per cent. of any such top-up.
Where the property does not qualify for mandatory relief, local authorities can consider the award of discretionary rate relief. To be eligible for consideration, the ratepayer must be a non-profit making body and the property used for social, philanthropic, educational or religious purposes. Local authorities have the discretionary power to grant up to 100 per cent. rate relief to certain non-profit making bodies. 75 per cent. of the cost of all discretionary reliefs is met centrally, with the local authority, and through them, the council taxpayer meeting the remaining 25 per cent.. However, whether or not a particular ratepayer would qualify for this rate relief would depend on whether it meets the qualifying criteria set by the local authority.
There are no council tax discounts or exemptions available for care homes that provide residential or nursing care for the elderly. However, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister included provisions in the Local Government Bill currently before Parliament giving local authorities the power to grant their own discounts and exemptions. This could include care homes if the local authority wished.