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Non-domestic Rates: Ports

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals to ensure that fast track and other rating reassessments on port companies which are not completed until after the start of financial year 2010-11 do not include liability for retrospective charges to 2005. (324134)

The effective date of alterations to the Rating List is governed by the Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2009. Where there is a difference between the day a Rating List is altered and the effective date of the alteration, a backdated liability will accrue. The Government do not currently have any plans to amend these regulations.

The review of ports by the Valuation Office Agency was carried out to ensure that all individual business properties within and outside ports were rated fairly to ensure that the burden of contributions to funding local government is shared equitably between businesses around the country.

The Government has listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some within the ports. It has legislated to enable such bills to be repaid over an unprecedented eight years rather than in a single instalment, helping affected businesses to manage the impact on their cash flow during the downturn by reducing the amount they are required to pay now by 87.5 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Valuation Office Agency (a) received an application for and (b) made a decision on the fast-track reassessment of Scotline. (324512)

We are unable to comment on individual cases but the Valuation Office Agency is working with ratepayers, or their representatives, to resolve appeals relating to ports under the fast-track arrangements.