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Volume 170: debated on Friday 20 April 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement concerning the provision of accommodation within the tourist industry following the implementation of the poll tax.

As a consequence of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987, property which was previously valued as a dwellinghouse will have been removed from rating as from 1 April 1989, but if the assessor considers that the degree to which a particular property is used for commercial purposes is such that it should fall within the non-domestic sector, he will enter it in the valuation roll. There remains a valuation judgment for the assessor to make.However, to ensure a consistent approach throughout Scotland, my right hon. and learned Friend recently decided to clarify the boundary between the domestic and non-domestic sectors for self-catering properties and bed-and-breakfast establishments. The Abolition of Domestic Rates (Domestic and Part Residential Subjects) (Scotland) Regulations 1990 accordingly provide that dwellinghouses made available for letting, commercially, as self-catering accommodation for short periods amounting to at least 140 days per year are to be treated from 1 April 1990 as non-domestic, thus rendering them liable to non-domestic rates.In the case of bed-and-breakfast establishments, we have been consulting interested parties on a proposal to include within the statutory definition of domestic subjects any dwellinghouse which is made available for the provision of bed-and-breakfast accommodation for at least 100 days per year or which provides such accommodation for no more than six guests. My right hon. and learned Friend is likely to bring forward appropriate regulations on this before long.