To ask the Deputy Prime Minister
(1) how many unoccupied non-domestic properties paid empty property business rates in England in each year since 1997;
(2) how many unoccupied industrial properties were exempt from property business rates in England in each year since 1997.
Local authorities have reported that 240,830 non-domestic properties in England received empty premises relief in 2002–03. The latest available figure for 2003–04 is 237,035, as estimated by local authorities in early 2003. Figures were not collected centrally for earlier years, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Information on the number of unoccupied industrial properties in England that are not required to pay business rates is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.