Non-domestic Rates: Ports

Treasury written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell Labour, Great Grimsby

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) monetary value of retrospective business rate demands for port businesses, excluding the sum payable in respect of the current period; and how many newly-assessed businesses have (i) paid in respect of the new assessment and (ii) paid or made a contribution under his extended payment proposals.

Photo of Barbara Follett Barbara Follett Minister of State (the East of England), Regional Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (the East of England), Department for Communities and Local Government

holding answer 25 March 2010

I have been asked to reply.

As at 23 December 2009, the Valuation Office Agency have advised my Department that 724 newly assessed, port based properties are liable for backdated rates to 1 April 2005.

An estimate of the monetary value of the backdated liabilities was made in respect of all ratepayers (not just port based properties) and was published in the impact assessment alongside the Explanatory Memorandum for the Non Domestic Rating (collection and Enforcement) (local Lists) (England) (Amendment) regulations 2009

This states that the estimated backdated liability, before the application of any reliefs, is forecast to be approximately £131 million and the cost of the scheme to be approximately £33 million.

The Government have listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some situated in ports. It has legislated to enable such bills to be repaid over an unprecedented eight years rather than in a single instalment, helping affected businesses to manage the impact on their cash flows during the downturn by reducing the amount they are required to pay now by 87.5 per cent.

As at 8 October 2009, local authorities have reported that ratepayers occupying 221 properties within ports had fully discharged their backdated liability and ratepayers occupying a further 200 business properties within ports had been granted a schedule of payments. The Government do not have information on how many payments, or of what amount, the 200 properties with schedule of payments agreements have made.

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