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Non-domestic Rates: Ports

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 7 October 2008, Official Report, column 594W, on non-domestic rates: ports, whether (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation is required to reverse the backdating of business rates on ports and shipping companies. (231872)

I have been asked to reply.

In relation to the businesses within ports, backdated liability has arisen because of the operation of regulation 14 of the Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/659).

This power does not give the valuation officer discretion over the effective date or the Secretary of State the power to intervene in individual cases and without an amendment to primary legislation, we are unable to amend regulation 14 in such a way that would enable the valuation officer to change the rating list entries.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 7 October 2008, Official Report, column 594W, on non-domestic rates: ports, if he will make it his policy to reverse the backdating of taxation on ports and shipping companies. (231873)

I have been asked to reply.

We do not believe it would be in the interests of fair competition or in line with the wider principles of taxation for business rates liabilities in ports to be waived. We are urgently exploring policy options for mitigating the financial impact on businesses facing immediate payment of such significant backdated liabilities.