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Non-domestic Rates: Ports

Volume 496: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 24 June 2009, Official Report, column 962W, on non-domestic rates: ports, if he will place in the Library a copy of the items of correspondence. (286686)

No. It would be inappropriate for Ministers to release correspondence they receive from hon. Members and their constituents without their authority.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2009, Official Report, columns 912-13W, on non-domestic rates: ports, what guidance his Department provided to the Valuation Office Agency on the 2005 revaluation. (287107)

The assessment of rateable value and the maintenance of rating lists is the responsibility of the Valuation Office Agency and not this Department. We do not provide guidance to the Valuation Office Agency on professional valuation issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2009, Official Report, column 912W, on non-domestic rates: ports, (1) for what reasons the Valuation Office Agency did not initiate its review of all major ports in 2005; how many properties identified by the review as separately rateable had not been assessed; for what reasons those properties were not separately listed in 2005; and when and how the owners of such properties were notified of the findings of the review in respect of their properties; (287111)

(2) how many separate assessments on port businesses were undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency in 2005; whether such assessments were listed in respect of how many other businesses it was established that a separate assessment should be made; when such assessments were (a) made and (b) listed; and how many businesses which were separately assessed in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006 consequent on the review of all major ports were reassessed in (A) 2007, (B) 2008 and (C) 2009;

(3) how many port businesses have been subject to separate assessments; and how many of those businesses were reassessed in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009.

The original assessments in the 2005 rating list were produced in good faith on the basis of the information held by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA did not undertake a review of occupations within ports at this time because it had not identified evidence that such a review was required.

Once evidence that additional properties within ports should be separately assessed came to the Agency's attention, it had a statutory duty to carry out such assessments and enter them onto the rating list.

Over 1,600 properties within the 45 ports in England were separately assessed immediately prior to the completion of the review of each port. After review, some of those properties were no longer separately listed or had their list entry altered.

A total of 748 additional properties were separately assessed for the first time with an effective date of 1 April 2005 as a result of the Agency's review of ports, of which 28 are no longer separately listed. As at 8 July 2009 the number of properties within ports that are separately assessed was 2,207, a net increase of around 600 compared with the position immediately prior to the review of each port.

The Agency notified the occupiers of these properties of the findings of the review as and when each review was completed. The exact date and method of notification varies from port to port and occupier to occupier.

Information on the date that each separate assessment was made and information on the number of separate assessments within ports that have been re-assessed in each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.