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Business Rates

Volume 616: debated on Monday 24 October 2016

14. If he will make it his policy to reverse the decision to introduce a business rate rise for organisations that seek to own and supply themselves with rooftop solar power. (906740)

Business rates are based on valuations carried out independently by the Valuation Office Agency. Nearly three quarters of businesses will see no change or a fall in their business rates next year, thanks to the 2017 revaluation, with 600,000 set to pay no business rates at all. For the minority that face an increase, a £3.4 billion transitional rate relief scheme will ensure that no business is unfairly penalised.

Despite what my hon. Friend has said to allay my fears, I wonder whether I could persuade him to meet me and local representatives of the solar industry and other constituency interests. We might come up with a few arguments that he has not yet heard and that might persuade him to change his mind about these rate rises.

I am aware that the rateable values of certain types of rooftop solar insulation are increasing under the revaluation. However, there are many factors that determine the rateable value of a property, and the installation of solar panels is only one element. Many will see an increase in the rateable value of their solar panels but see their overall rates bill reduced. That said, I hear what my hon. Friend has said and I am more than willing to meet him and local representatives of the industry.