To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the effect on industry in the north-west of the proposed uniform business rate.
Had the unified business rate been implemented in 1987–88 it could have saved businesses in the north-west £180 80 million, 18 per cent. of their present rate bills. These savings would be in addition to the further benefits which the 1990 revaluation is expected to bring to the region. Overall these changes should provide a major boost to the economy of the north-west. The future index-linking of rate increases to no more than the rate of inflation will ensure that this is a continuing benefit. These benefits for businesses would not be at the expense of community charge payers. The new grant arrangements we propose, together with the distribution of the national non-domestic rate income, would have allowed all authorities to provide a standard level of service at the same level of community charge, £178 in 1987–88.