Local Government Finance Bill (HL Bill 39)

A

BILL

[AS AMENDED IN GRAND COMMITTEE]

TO

Make provision about non-domestic rating; to make provision about grants to
local authorities; to make provision about council tax; to make provision about
the supply of information for purposes relating to rates in Northern Ireland;
and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Non-domestic rating

1 Local retention of non-domestic rates

(1) The LGFA 1988 is amended in accordance with subsections (2) to (4).

(2) After section 59 insert—

59A 5Local retention of non-domestic rates

Schedule 7B (local retention of non-domestic rates) has effect.

(3) In section 143 (orders and regulations)—

(a) in subsection (3) (application of negative Parliamentary procedure to
orders and regulations under the Act), for “(9AA)” substitute “(9E)”,
10and

(b) before subsection (10) insert—

(9C) Any power to make regulations conferred by Schedule 7B (local
retention of non-domestic rates) is exercisable by statutory
instrument.

(9D) 15A statutory instrument containing regulations under any of the
following provisions of that Schedule (whether alone or with
other provision) may not be made unless a draft of the

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instrument has been laid before and approved by resolution of
each House of Parliament—

(a) paragraph 8 (regulations about payments by billing
authorities to major precepting authorities);

(b) 5paragraph 20 (regulations about calculation of levy
payments);

(c) paragraph 23 (regulations about calculation of safety net
payments);

(d) paragraph 28 (regulations about distribution of
10remaining balance).

(9E) Any other statutory instrument containing regulations under
that Schedule is subject to annulment in pursuance of a
resolution of either House of Parliament.

(4) Schedule 1 (which sets out the Schedule to be inserted as Schedule 7B to the
15LGFA 1988) has effect.

(5) In consequence of the amendment made by subsection (3)(a), in Schedule 7 to
the Local Government Act 2003 omit paragraph 24(2).

(6) The amendments made by this section and Schedule 1 have effect in relation to
the financial year beginning with 1 April 2013 and subsequent financial years.

(7) 20But the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument amend
subsection (6) by substituting a later financial year.

2 Revenue support grant

(1) Schedule 2 (amendment of provisions about revenue support grant) has effect.

(2) The amendments made by Schedule 2 have effect in relation to the financial
25year beginning with 1 April 2013 and subsequent financial years.

(3) But the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument amend
subsection (2) by substituting a later financial year.

3 Additional grant

(1) The LGFA 1988 is amended in accordance with subsections (2) to (4).

(2) 30In section 84Q(1) (application of Chapter dealing with grants other than
revenue support grant) omit paragraph (a) (which refers to sections 85 and 86).

(3) Omit sections 85 and 86 (additional grant: England) and the italic heading
preceding section 85.

(4) In section 141 (payments to and from authorities)—

(a) 35in subsection (5)(b) omit “and 86(2)”, and

(b) in subsection (7) omit “and 86”.

(5) The LGFA 1992 is amended in accordance with subsections (6) to (8).

(6) In section 52ZF (council tax referendums: billing authority’s duty to make
substitute calculations)—

(a) 40in subsection (3)(a) omit “additional grant,”, and

(b) omit subsection (4).

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(7) In section 52ZJ (council tax referendums: major precepting authority’s duty to
make substitute calculations)—

(a) in subsection (4)(a) omit “additional grant,”, and

(b) omit subsection (5).

(8) 5In section 69(1) (interpretation of Part 1), in the definition of “additional grant”,
for “85(2)” substitute “86A(2)”.

(9) The Greater London Authority Act 1999 is amended in accordance with
subsections (10) and (11).

(10) In section 86 (calculation of component council tax requirement in relation to
10Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime)—

(a) in subsection (4D)—

(i) at the end of paragraph (b) insert “and”, and

(ii) omit paragraph (d) (additional grant) and the “and” preceding
that paragraph, and

(b) 15in subsection (4F)—

(i) at the end of paragraph (a) insert “and”, and

(ii) omit paragraph (c) (report relating to additional grant) and the
“and” preceding that paragraph.

(11) In section 102(2) (aggregate out of which payments to functional bodies are to
20be made) omit paragraph (b) (additional grant).

(12) In consequence of the amendments made by subsection (3)

(a) in Schedule 10 to the LGFA 1992 omit paragraph 16, and

(b) in Schedule 7 to the Local Government Act 2003 omit paragraph 17.

(13) The amendments made by this section have effect in relation to the financial
25year beginning with 1 April 2013 and subsequent financial years.

(14) But the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument amend
subsection (13) by substituting a later financial year.

4 General GLA grant

(1) Section 100 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (general GLA grant) is
30amended as follows.

(2) For subsection (1) (duty to pay general GLA grant to Greater London
Authority for each financial year) substitute—

(1) The Secretary of State may pay a grant (to be called “general GLA
grant”) to the Authority for a financial year.

(3) 35In subsection (3) (duty to make determination about general GLA grant for
each financial year), after “year” insert “for which general GLA grant is to be
paid”.

(4) The amendments made by this section have effect in relation to the financial
year beginning with 1 April 2013 and subsequent financial years.

(5) 40But the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument amend
subsection (4) by substituting a later financial year.

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5 Local retention of non-domestic rates: further amendments

(1) Schedule 3 (local retention of non-domestic rates: further amendments) has
effect.

(2) In that Schedule—

(a) 5Part 1 amends Schedule 8 to the LGFA 1988 so that it applies in relation
to Wales only (and makes some related amendments), and

(b) Part 2 contains other amendments.

(3) The amendments made by that Schedule have effect for the financial year
beginning with 1 April 2013 and subsequent financial years.

(4) 10But the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument amend
subsection (3) by substituting a later financial year.

6 Definition of domestic property

(1) Section 66 of the LGFA 1988 (domestic property) is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (2BB) insert—

(2BC) 15For the purposes of subsection (2B) the relevant person is—

(a) where the building or self-contained part is not subject as a
whole to a relevant leasehold interest, the person having the
freehold interest in the whole of the building or self-contained
part; and

(b) 20in any other case, any person having a relevant leasehold
interest in the building or self-contained part which is not
subject (as a whole) to a single relevant leasehold interest
inferior to that interest.

(3) In subsection (2C) omit “subsection (2B) and”.

(4) 25This section has effect in relation to liability to a non-domestic rate for the
financial year beginning with 1 April 2013 and subsequent financial years.

7 Payments to and from authorities

(1) Section 141 of the LGFA 1988 (power to make regulations about set off of
payments to and from receiving authorities) is amended as follows.

(2) 30In subsection (5)(b) (power to require provisions of the Act to be read subject
to regulations), after “79(2)” insert “, 84H(2) and 86B(2)”.

(3) In subsection (7) (payments to receiving authorities to which regulations may
apply)—

(a) after “84C” insert “, 84K, 84N and 86B”, and

(b) 35for the words from “paragraphs 12 and 15 of that Schedule” to the end
substitute “and paragraphs 12 and 15 of that Schedule.”

(4) In subsection (8) (payments from receiving authorities to which regulations
may apply), for “and 84C” substitute “, 84C, 84K and 84N”.

(5) The amendments made by this section have effect in relation to the financial
40year beginning with 1 April 2013 and subsequent financial years.

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8 Provision of information about non-domestic rates

(1) In Schedule 9 to the LGFA 1988, paragraph 2 (collection and recovery) is
amended as follows.

(2) After sub-paragraph (2)(ge) insert—

(gf) 5that the payee must publish prescribed information in the
prescribed manner,.

(3) In sub-paragraph (2)(h), after “when the payee serves a notice” insert “or on the
request of the ratepayer”.

Council tax

9 10Council tax reduction schemes

(1) For section 13A of the LGFA 1992 (billing authority’s power to reduce amount
of tax payable) substitute—

13A Reductions by billing authority

(1) The amount of council tax which a person is liable to pay in respect of
15any chargeable dwelling and any day (as determined in accordance
with sections 10 to 13)—

(a) in the case of a dwelling situated in the area of a billing
authority in England, is to be reduced to the extent, if any,
required by the authority’s council tax reduction scheme (see
20subsection (2));

(b) in the case of a dwelling situated in the area of a billing
authority in Wales, is to be reduced to the extent, if any,
required by any council tax reduction scheme made under
regulations under subsection (4) which applies to that dwelling;

(c) 25in any case, may be reduced to such extent (or, if the amount has
been reduced under paragraph (a) or (b), such further extent) as
the billing authority for the area in which the dwelling is
situated thinks fit.

(2) Each billing authority in England must make a scheme specifying the
30reductions which are to apply to amounts of council tax payable, in
respect of dwellings situated in its area, by—

(a) persons whom the authority considers to be in financial need, or

(b) persons in classes consisting of persons whom the authority
considers to be, in general, in financial need.

(3) 35Schedule 1A (which contains provisions about schemes under
subsection (2)) has effect.

(4) The Welsh Ministers may by regulations—

(a) require a person or body specified in the regulations to make a
scheme specifying the reductions which are to apply to
40amounts of council tax payable, in respect of dwellings to which
the scheme applies, by persons to whom the scheme applies,

(b) impose requirements on that person or body regarding the
matters which must be included in that scheme, and

(c) make other provision for and in connection with such schemes.

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(5) Schedule 1B (which contains further provisions about regulations
under subsection (4) and about schemes under those regulations) has
effect.

(6) The power under subsection (1)(c) includes power to reduce an amount
5to nil.

(7) The power under subsection (1)(c) may be exercised in relation to
particular cases or by determining a class of case in which liability is to
be reduced to an extent provided by the determination.

(8) No regulations under subsection (4) are to be made unless a draft of the
10statutory instrument containing them has been laid before, and
approved by a resolution of, the National Assembly for Wales.

(9) In this Part “council tax reduction scheme” means a scheme under
subsection (2) or regulations under subsection (4).

(2) Schedule 4 (amendments relating to council tax reduction schemes) has effect.

(3) 15In that Schedule—

(a) Part 1 sets out the Schedules to be inserted as Schedules 1A and 1B to
the LGFA 1992, and

(b) Part 2 contains other amendments.

(4) Each billing authority in England must make a council tax reduction scheme
20under section 13A(2) of the LGFA 1992 no later than 31 January 2013; and the
first financial year to which that scheme relates must be the year beginning
with 1 April 2013.

(5) But the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument amend
subsection (4) by substituting a different date or a later financial year (or both).

10 25Power to determine further discounts for certain dwellings

(1) In section 11A of the LGFA 1992 (discounts: special provision for England),
after subsection (4) insert—

(4A) For any financial year for which a class of dwellings is prescribed for
the purposes of this subsection, a billing authority in England may by
30determination provide—

(a) in relation to all dwellings of that class in its area, or

(b) in relation to such description of dwellings of that class as it
may specify in the determination,

that the discount under section 11(2)(a) shall not apply or shall be such
35percentage (which may be 100) as it may so specify.

(4B) Where a class of dwellings is prescribed for the purposes of subsection
(4A) by reference to the period of time for which a condition is met, a
billing authority may not, under paragraph (b) of that subsection,
specify a description of dwellings of that class by reference (wholly or
40partly) to a shorter such period.

(2) In subsections (1) and (5) of that section, for “or (4)” substitute “, (4) or (4A)”.

(3) Regulations may be made for the purposes of the subsection inserted by
subsection (1) for a financial year beginning with or after 1 April 2013 (and, if
a class of dwelling is prescribed by reference to a period of time for which a

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condition is met, it does not matter whether the period begins before this
section comes into force).

11 Power to set higher amount for long-term empty dwellings

(1) The LGFA 1992 is amended as follows.

(2) 5After section 11A insert—

11B Higher amount for long-term empty dwellings: England

(1) For any financial year, a billing authority in England may by
determination provide in relation to its area, or such part of its area as
it may specify in the determination, that if on any day a dwelling is a
10long-term empty dwelling—

(a) the discount under section 11(2)(a) shall not apply, and

(b) the amount of council tax payable in respect of that dwelling
and that day shall be increased by such percentage of not more
than 50 as it may so specify.

(2) 15The Secretary of State may by regulations prescribe one or more classes
of dwelling in relation to which a billing authority may not make a
determination under this section.

(3) A class of dwellings may be prescribed under subsection (2) by
reference to such factors as the Secretary of State thinks fit and may, in
20particular, be prescribed by reference to—

(a) the physical characteristics of, or other matters relating to,
dwellings;

(b) the circumstances of, or other matters relating to, any person
who is liable to the amount of council tax concerned.

(4) 25Where a determination under this section has effect in relation to a class
of dwellings—

(a) the billing authority may not make a determination under
section 11A(3), (4) or (4A) in relation to that class, and

(b) any determination that has been made under section 11A(3), (4)
30or (4A) ceases to have effect in relation to that class.

(5) A billing authority may make a determination varying or revoking a
determination under this section for a financial year, but only before
the beginning of the year.

(6) A billing authority which makes a determination under this section
35must publish a notice of it in at least one newspaper circulating in its
area and do so before the end of the period of 21 days beginning with
the date of the determination.

(7) Failure to comply with subsection (6) does not affect the validity of a
determination.

(8) 40For the purposes of this section, a dwelling is a “long-term empty
dwelling” on any day if for a continuous period of at least 2 years
ending with that day—

(a) it has been unoccupied, and

(b) it has been substantially unfurnished.

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(9) In determining for the purposes of this section whether a dwelling has
been unoccupied for any period, no account is to be taken of any one or
more periods of not more than 6 weeks, or such longer period as the
Secretary of State may by regulations specify, during which it was
5occupied.

(3) In section 11(2) (discounts: no chargeable residents), after “sections 11A” insert
“, 11B”.

(4) In section 11A (discounts: special provision for England), after subsection (4B)
(inserted by section 10) insert—

(4C) 10Subsections (3), (4) and (4A) are subject to section 11B(4).

(5) In section 13(3) (amounts which may be reduced by regulations) after “section
11, 11A” insert “, 11B”.

(6) In section 66(2)(b) (matters to be questioned only by judicial review), after
“section 8(2), 11A” insert “, 11B”.

(7) 15In section 67(2)(a) (functions to be discharged only by authority), after “section
8(2), 11A” insert “, 11B”.

(8) In Schedule 2 (administration), paragraph 4 (discounts) is amended as follows.

(9) In sub-paragraph (2), after “discount” (in both places) insert “or increase”.

(10) In sub-paragraph (3)—

(a) 20after “discount” in the first and third places insert “or to an increase”;

(b) after “discount” in the second and fourth places insert “or increase”.

(11) In sub-paragraph (5)(a), for “is subject to a discount of a particular amount;
and” substitute

(i) is subject to a discount of a particular amount, or

(ii) 25is not subject to any increase; and.

(12) In sub-paragraph (5)(b), for the words from “is not in fact” to “smaller
amount,” substitute

(i) is not in fact subject to any discount, or is subject to a
discount of a smaller amount, or

(ii) 30is in fact subject to an increase (whether or not the
person is aware of the amount of the increase),.

(13) After sub-paragraph (6) insert—

(7) In this paragraph, “increase” means an increase under section
11B(1)(b) (higher amount of tax for empty dwellings).

(14) 35In the heading preceding that paragraph, after “Discounts” insert “and
increases”.

(15) A determination may be made for the purposes of the section inserted by
subsection (2) for a financial year beginning with or after 1 April 2013 (and it
does not matter whether the period mentioned in subsection (8) of that section
40begins before this section comes into force).

12 Mortgagee in possession to be liable for council tax

(1) In section 6(2) of the LGFA 1992 (persons liable to pay council tax) omit the “or”

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at the end of paragraph (e) and after that paragraph insert—

(ea) in the case of a dwelling situated in the area of a billing
authority in England, the person is a mortgagee in possession of
the owner’s interest in the dwelling; or.

(2) 5This section comes into force on such day as the Secretary of State may by order
made by statutory instrument appoint.

13 Regulations about powers to require information, offences and penalties

(1) The LGFA 1992 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 14 insert—

14A 10Regulations about powers to require information

(1) The appropriate authority may by regulations provide for the exercise,
for prescribed council tax purposes, of—

(a) powers to require the provision of information;

(b) powers to require a person to enter into arrangements under
15which access is permitted to the person’s electronic records.

(2) The appropriate authority may by regulations make provision about
arrangements for access to electronic records for prescribed council tax
purposes where the arrangements are entered into otherwise than
under a requirement of the kind mentioned in subsection (1)(b).

(3) 20The appropriate authority may by regulations—

(a) make provision about the persons by whom powers conferred
by regulations under this section may be exercised;

(b) make provision about the persons by whom arrangements
under regulations under this section may be made;

(c) 25in particular, make provision for the authorisation by billing
authorities of persons to exercise those powers or make those
arrangements.

(4) The provision that may be made by regulations under this section
includes, in particular, provision equivalent to—

(a) 30provision made by a relevant enactment, or

(b) provision that is capable of being made under a relevant
enactment,

with such modifications as the appropriate authority thinks fit

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4), each of the following enactments as
35it had effect on the day on which the Local Government Finance Act
2012 was passed is a “relevant enactment”—

(a) section 109A(8) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992
(application of section 109B of that Act to the Crown);

(b) section 109B of that Act (powers to require information);

(c) 40section 110A of that Act (authorisations by local authorities to
exercise powers of investigation);

(d) section 110AA of that Act (power of local authority to require
electronic access to information);

(e) section 121DA of that Act (interpretation of Part 6 of that Act);

(f) 45section 191 of that Act (interpretation of that Act).