(2) whether under the business rates deferral scheme a business will be able to defer (a) a maximum of 60 per cent. of its 2009-10 business rate liability and (b) 60 per cent. of the amount of liability that remains unpaid at the time the deferral scheme became operational.
As announced on 31 March 2009 and confirmed at Budget, the Government will enable business rate payers to defer payment of 60 per cent. of the annual RPI inflation increase in their 2009-10 business rates bills until 2010-11 and 2011-12. Ratepayers occupying property that received transitional relief in 2008-09 will in addition be able to defer payment of 60 per cent. of the increase in their 2009-10 rates bills due to the end of the 2005 transitional relief scheme.
The Government do not have the power to make the regulations that will implement the scheme apply retrospectively. So where a ratepayer has, for whatever reason, already paid their full liability for 2009-10 under the existing legislative scheme, the billing authority will not be able to grant the ratepayer a deferral and give the ratepayer a refund. However, all ratepayers with enough outstanding 2009-10 rates liabilities will be able to defer the amounts set out above, which will be deducted from their remaining 2009-10 instalment payments. Those whose outstanding rates liability is less than the amount they can defer will be able to defer whatever is remaining of their 2009-10 liability.
(2) how many weeks after the coming into force of regulations implementing the business rates deferral scheme she expects local authorities to take to (a) inform businesses of the deferral option, (b) process requests for deferrals and (c) begin issuing rates bills that incorporate any requested deferral;
(3) what recent guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on the time between coming into force of regulations in respect of the business rate deferral scheme and the issuing to businesses of revised bills.
As announced on 31 March 2009, the Government are planning to bring regulations implementing the business rates deferral scheme into force by the end of July.
Further details on the timetable for implementation and the availability of the scheme to ratepayers are described in the business rate information letter issued on 5 June 2009. This letter, which was sent to all billing authorities in England, can be accessed at:
I have placed a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.
The figures cited in Table C11 of the 2009 Financial Statement and Budget Report setting out the Departmental Expenditure Limits for Communities and Local Government cover costs associated with implementing deferral of business rate payments.
Any net additional costs to local government as a whole arising from the business rates deferral scheme will be fully funded under the new burdens principle.