Self-sufficient Local Government: 100% Business Rates Retention [Extent: England]
The consultation paper Self-sufficient local government: 100% business rates retention (47 pages, raising 36 questions) invites comments on the government’s proposal to allow local government to retain 100% of the business rates they raise locally. The paper, together with a 13-page Call for Evidence on Needs and Distribution, with fourteen additional questions, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/self-sufficient-local-government-100-business-rates-retention
Consultation closes on 26th September 2016
Barclay review of Business Rates [extent: scotland]
The Barclay review group has been set up to make recommendations that seek to enhance and reform the business rates system in Scotland to better support business growth and long term investment and reflect changing marketplaces.
The Group will report to Ministers in July 2017. Comments on the issues raised in the review are invited by 7 October 2016.
The link to further information is at: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/-1billion-saving-for-small-business-2415.aspx
HMRC Consultation on Moving Land Registry Operations to the Private Sector
It was announced in the Autumn Statement 2015 by the Chancellor that Government intended to consult on options to move operations of Land Registry into the private sector. This is part of a wider aim of the Government to seek up to £5 billion of additional corporate and financial asset sales by March 2020.
This consultation set out options to move Land Registry into the private sector. A sale of Land Registry is expected to deliver a capital receipt for Government. This can be invested elsewhere for the benefit of the tax payer. In addition, it is expected that a transaction could support Land Registry to be run efficiently and effectively and support the UK property market.
The document can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/land-registry-moving-operations-to-the-private-sector.
Consultation closed on 26th May 2016.
Business rates: delivering more frequent revaluations
This discussion paper sets out the significant challenges in delivering more frequent revaluations under the current valuation system and explores possible alternatives that could enable a move to more frequent revaluations. No option is preferred at this stage and we encourage stakeholders to consider the merits and trade-offs that all options present
Consultation - Review of Rate Liability in the Domestic Rental Sector [Northern Ireland]
The Department of Finance and Personnel has today launched a new policy consultation paper about rates liability for domestic rental properties including the issue of rates exemption for student halls of residence.
The Department intends to use this consultation to establish the case for change in this policy area with the aim of ensuring that arrangements:
- are fair, not simply to those in the sectors concerned but to the wider body of ratepayers
- are workable and affordable (and that any allowances that are provided are no more and no less than they need to be)
- support the effective and efficient collection of rates;
- ensure clarity of responsibilities for rate liability for both landlords and tenants; and
- are consistent, so that one type of landlord is not placed at a disadvantage compared to another type of landlord.
The consultation exercise will run for an 8 week period closing on 3 June 2016.
The Housing Benefit and State Pension Credit (Temporary Absence) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 - call for evidence
The Social Security Advisory Committee is considering the above draft regulation, which intend to reduce the period of allowable absence outside Great Britain (GB) from 13 weeks to 4 weeks for the majority of claimants – therefore Housing Benefit and State Pension Credit would generally not be paid for more than 4 weeks in the event of a temporary absence.
The Committee has decided to take the regulations on formal reference and will produce a report for the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in March. The Committee invites written submissions from any organisation or individual who has relevant evidence that would inform its advice.
The Committee would welcome information about people on Housing Benefit (HB) or State Pension Credit (SPC) who, whatever their age, leave Great Britain temporarily for extended periods and are likely to suffer hardship as a direct consequence of this change. The Committee is particularly keen to hear about the impact on vulnerable claimants and where absences are determined by factors outside of a claimant’s direct control.
The temporary absence rules also apply to a claimant's family and others who live with them in the determination of whether they occupy the home for other purposes, for example in relation to the under-occupancy charge or the local housing allowance. The Committee would like to receive evidence setting out how a shorter allowable absence abroad might make a difference to the claimant or others in the household.
The Committee would also be interested in hearing about potential impacts on local authorities and the voluntary sector.
Finally, the Committee would welcome any robust data or other evidence which would indicate the scale and nature of the potential impact on any specific groups.
For further information visit: www.gov.uk/ssac
Evidence gathering closedf on 29 February 2016.
Public Consultation On A Review Of The Non-Domestic Rating System: Northern Ireland
The Department of Finance and Personnel’s public consultation on a review of the non-domestic rating system closed on 29th January (extended from 25th January).
Stakeholders were invited to give their input on the future direction of business rates within Northern Ireland. The review also sought views on alternative forms of business taxation as either replacements or supplements to the current rating system.
The consultation document can be found at https://www.dfpni.gov.uk/articles/latest-developments-rating-policy
Government Business Rates Proposals Inquiry
The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee ran an inquiry into the Government’s proposals to allow local authorities to retain 100 per cent of the full stock of business rates by 2020 and to cut business rates, and for directly elected mayors to add a premium to business rates to pay for new infrastructure. The deadline for written evidence was 1st February 2016.
Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:
"The CLG Committee produced a report in the last Parliament which argued strongly for greater fiscal devolution. The government is now pursuing the total localisation of business rates, but proposes to retain council tax capping and control by referendum which suggests a pretty limited approach to fiscal devolution. As a Committee, we will want to examine the details of the Government’s proposals and, among other issues, what responsibilities should be devolved to local authorities in return for the increased funding. We'll also be keen to look at the likely impact resulting from councils competing on business rates and what measures should be introduced to ensure local areas with less ability to generate business rates income do not suffer as a result of these changes."
The Committee is seeking evidence on the following points:
- Details of the Government’s proposals;
- What responsibilities and functions should be devolved to local authorities to take account of the increase in their funding;
- Other possible changes to the definition and collection of business rates;
- Effects of the retention of business rates in the context of the local authority financial settlement;
- Differences in outcomes in richer and poorer areas and inter-authority competition;
- Long-term future of redistribution to poorer areas and impacts on development;
- Role of directly elected mayors and LEPs; and
- Changes to the local role of businesses as a result of the proposals.
Details of the Inquiry can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/communities-and-local-government-committee/news-parliament-2015/government-business-rates-proposals-launch-15-16/
IRRV Response to Review into Council Tax Support (England and Wales)
A review has recently closed into council tax support. The review covered England, and also considered views of the Welsh Government and evidence submitted by Welsh authorities on local council tax reduction in Wales.
As set out in the legislation, the review focused on the effectiveness, efficiency, fairness and transparency of the different LCTS schemes. It also considered their impact on the localism agenda, and will make recommendations as to whether or not the schemes should be brought within Universal Credit.
The scope of the review focused specifically on local council tax support schemes and did not include any broader aspects of government policy on local government finance, council tax, or the welfare system. The review team was particularly interested in hearing about :
- experience of designing, implementing, or being the recipient of an LCTS scheme
- the main challenges, and how have these changed over time?
- What impact has LCTS had on the following:
- local autonomy
- local finances and budgeting
- local residents
Full details of the review can be found at
The Institute’s response can be found at:
The Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2016/17 and an Offer to Councils for Future Years (England)
This consultation seeks views on proposals for the local government finance settlement for 2016/17; in particular, from representatives of local government, before determining the final amount of Revenue Support Grant and its allocation to receiving authorities and the specified body. The consultation notifies representatives of local government of the general nature of the basis of distribution of Revenue Support Grant, and of the general nature of the basis of calculation of ‘tariff’ and ‘top up’ payments through this consultation document and accompanying documents, in particular the draft Local Government Finance Report for 2016/17.
The paper also references that as part of these reforms, the main local government grant will be phased out and additional responsibilities devolved to local authorities, empowering them to drive local economic growth and support their local community. For example, the government will consider transferring responsibility for funding the administration of housing benefit for pensioners and Transport for London’s capital projects to local government, and will also consult on options to transfer responsibility for funding public health.
Full details of the consultation can be found at