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Rating Assessments (New Shop-Fronts)

Volume 524: debated on Tuesday 9 March 1954

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will take steps to prevent the disincentive to desirable development resulting from the policy of increased assessments for rates when a shopkeeper improves his shop-front.

Under rating law, if an improvement to a shop or other property appreciably increases its rental value, then its assessment has to be increased.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the concern expressed by a number of chambers of trade at the abandonment by shopkeepers of development of this kind for fear of bringing increased rate liability upon their heads, and does he not think that there is cause here for treating this type of development as exceptional to the general rating rule?

I should think that if it applied to shops it would have to apply to almost everything else as well.

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the entire basis of assessment is fundamentally wrong, and that it is most unfortunate that where a shopkeeper or any other owner of property improves his property the consequence is that the rates go up?