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Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultations were undertaken with those businesses operating within ports prior to the introduction of business rates for port tenants; what form those consultations took; and how long the consultation period was. (226653)

Consultation about removal of the power of the Secretary of State to prescribe rateable values, for ports and other utilities, was undertaken in "Modernising Local Government Finance : A Green Paper" published by DETR in September 2000 and in "Strong Local Leadership - Quality Public Service" a White Paper published by ODPM in December 2001. The Local Government Act 2003 then removed the power to prescribe a formula for rating statutory ports.

The port operators were advised by letter of the review of ports and its background in May 2006. Since then there have been detailed discussions to establish the facts, on a case by case basis, with interested parties both among port operators and port tenants and the time taken has varied, dependent on the complexity of each.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is considering to mitigate the financial effects upon traders of the recent change in rating methodology for docks and harbours. (227548)

The Department has received representations over the rating of businesses within the ports, and the Government are looking closely at the matter.