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Business Rates (Public Houses)

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

16. If he will conduct an impact assessment on the effect on public houses and other businesses of the 2010 business rates revaluation. (304612)

Regular revaluations are a statutory part of the business rates system and as such do not require impact assessments. However, we have carefully considered the impact of the 2010 revaluation on businesses, including public houses, and are introducing a £2 billion transitional relief scheme for the minority facing increases. An impact assessment of that scheme has been conducted and was published on 17 November. From 1 April, we will also offer extra help to individual public houses in rural areas by increasing their rateable value relief threshold from £10,500 to £12,500.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does she not agree that it is irresponsible not to conduct a full impact assessment on such policies, especially in the case in question? The distortions that accrue from using April 2008 property figures may bake property boom prices into business rates for pubs in urban areas and businesses next door to them.

The hon. Lady is quite correct to point out that the system contains problems, as it values properties backwards so that the 2008 values are reflected in the 2010 figures. That is exactly why the multiplier is set at a 17-year low of 15 per cent., and why we have implemented a transitional rate relief scheme this year and had an impact assessment.