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Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

Volume 493: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit the retrospective application of business rates to firms in ports. (276926)

The policy underpinning the requirement for backdating where appropriate is to ensure a rateable property pays its fair amount of rates from the point the property should be rated to ensure all business are treated fairly.

The rates system must be equitable to all and any solution to a situation as in the ports must not confer a disadvantage upon other ratepayers.

The statutory framework of business rates gives Ministers no discretion to remove a liability to taxation, and we do not believe it would be in the interests of fair competition or in line with the principles of taxation for such a liability to be waived.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the potential change in non-port rateable values in Milford Haven Port Authority as a result of the Valuation Office Agency's review of ports rates liability. (277015)

The Milford Haven assessment is currently subject to legal opinion, and therefore the VOA consider it inappropriate to estimate liability at this point in time.