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Non-Domestic Rates: Empty Property

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of the new empty property business rates regime on rates of conversion of empty agricultural properties into business use. (252628)

There has not been a specific assessment of the impact of empty property rates on the conversion of empty agricultural properties into business use. However, an impact assessment detailing the impact of the empty property reforms was published by Communities and Local Government in May 2007 accompanying the introduction of the Rating (Empty Properties) Bill and a further assessment was laid before this House on 26 February accompanying the Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) (England) Regulations 2008—Number: 386.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 28 October 2008, Official Report, column 949W, on empty property, which local authorities have sent back completed forms on empty property business rates; (252714)

(2) with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 29 October 2008, Official Report, columns 1142-3W, on empty property, if she will place in the Library a copy of each of the responses to the requests for information made in June and September.

The Government are compiling information on the possible avoidance of empty property rates over the course of the first year of the reforms, and we will set out in an appropriate form our general findings in due course.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of each response to Modernising Empty Property Relief—A Consultation Paper. (252726)

I have placed a copy in the Library of the summary of the consultation responses to Modernising Empty Property Relief—A Consultation Paper.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether transitional relief will apply in cases of non-domestic dwellings for which empty property business rates are paid following the 2010 revaluation. (252733)

There will be a consultation on the transitional relief scheme for the 2010 revaluation later this year. We have consulted on a transitional relief scheme for the previous ratings lists.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether supplementary business rates will apply to dwellings for which empty property business rates are paid. (252734)

Business rates are not payable on domestic dwellings, unless they are occupied for both domestic and non-domestic purposes and have been assessed by the Valuation Office Agency for both council tax and business rates purposes.

Clause 11 of the Business Rate Supplements Bill, published in December 2008, provides that the decision to levy a BRS on empty non-domestic properties will be left to the discretion of the levying authority.