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House of Commons Hansard
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29 March 2010
Volume 508
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To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of eligible firms claimed small business rate relief in each local authority billing area in the latest period for which figures are available. [324506]

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The Department's report ‘Small Business Rate Relief—improving evidence on eligibility and take-up’ was published on December 9 2009. It estimates that, of the approximately 1.2 million non-domestic properties in England which fall below the current rateable value (RV) thresholds for SBRR, around 575,000 are occupied by eligible small businesses. This report has been validated by an independent peer review and is available at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/

The methodology used in the report only applies to England as a whole. Therefore, it is not possible to estimate the proportion of eligible firms claiming SBRR in each local authority.

However, new experimental statistics on the number of hereditaments in England claiming SBRR published on the Communities and Local Government website on 252 February 2010, show that 462,000 of them were benefiting from SBRR on 31 December 2008.

By applying that figure to the eligibility estimates made for the 2005 rating list it is estimated that around 80 per cent. of eligible hereditaments in England were claiming SBRR in 2008-09—see table 1.

Relief granted to small businesses has been increasing since SBRR was introduced—from £202 million in 2005-06 to £298 million in 2008-09. This represents a real terms increase of 34 per cent. Furthermore in 2008-09, 92 per cent. of the total relief that would be paid if all those estimated to be eligible were to claim, was actually being paid—see table 2.

This statistical release is available at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/sbrrfeb2010

Table 1: Take-up of SBRR—numbers claiming

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Number of hereditaments actually claiming SBRR (thousand)

396

433

462

Number of hereditaments estimated to be occupied by eligible small businesses (thousand)

575

575

575

Percentage of estimated eligible actually claiming

69

75

80

Table 2: Take-up of SBRR 2005-06 to 2008-09—relief

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Total relief that would be paid out if all properties estimated to be occupied by eligible small businesses were to claim1 (£ million)

Relief actually claimed (£ million)

202

237

259

298

Percentage take-up2

69

78

83

92

1 For details of how this estimate was derived please see the report ‘Small business rate relief—improving evidence on eligibility and take-up: Methodology’.

2 Percentage of total relief, which would be paid if all eligible small businesses claimed it, that was actually paid.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether business rate bills for 2005-10 will be subject to transitional relief. [324510]

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In 2005 the Government implemented a transitional relief scheme to protect ratepayers from large increases in business rates due to the 2005 revaluation. The 2005 transitional relief scheme ran until 31 March 2009.