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Rate Relief

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in what circumstances rural public houses may apply for rate relief; what the current level of take-up is of (a) mandatory relief and (b) discretionary relief and what proportion of eligible public houses this represents in each case. (102983)

The rural rate relief scheme provides for mandatory rate relief of 50 per cent. of the rates bill to sole public houses with rateable values of no more than £9,000 provided they are located in rural settlements designated by the Secretary of State as a rural area by reference to maps or appear in local authorities' rural settlement lists. Local authorities also have a discretionary power to top-up the relief to 100 per cent. rate relief if they feel it is in the interests of the local community to do so.

Information on the take-up of the rural rate relief for public houses and the number of eligible public houses is not available centrally. On the basis of returns completed by local authorities before the start of the current financial year, an estimated £5,905,947 is expected to be paid out in mandatory rate relief for village shops (including public houses) and £2,029,737 is expected to be paid out in discretionary relief to village shops.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she has plans to (a) increase mandatory rate relief for rural public houses above 50 per cent. and (b) extend rate relief to urban community public houses. (102984)

There are no plans to increase mandatory rate relief above 50 per cent. or to extend rate relief to public houses beyond qualifying rural settlements.