Non-domestic Rates: Ports

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell Labour, Great Grimsby

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his estimate is of the amount of retrospective business rate payments (a) owed by newly-assessed port companies, (b) paid in full by such companies to date and (c) paid in first instalments under the scheme for paying rates off over eight years; how many companies have (i) paid in full and (ii) paid a first instalment; and what the estimated cost of the deferral scheme is to the public purse.

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

As at December 23 2009, the Valuation Office Agency have advised my department that 724 newly assessed, port based properties are liable for backdated Rates to April 1 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 relief's, 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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