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Business Rate Supplements Bill


These notes relate to the Lords Amendments to the Business Rate Supplements Bill, as brought from the House of Lords on 16 June 2009 [Bill 30]




1.     These explanatory notes relate to the Lords Amendments to the Business Rate Supplements Bill, as brought from the House of Lords on 16 June 2009. They have been prepared by the Department for Communities and Local Government in order to assist the reader of the Bill and the Lords Amendments and to help inform debate on the Lords Amendments. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2.     These notes, like the Lords Amendments themselves, refer to HL Bill 30, the Bill as first printed for the Lords.

3.     These notes need to be read in conjunction with the Lords Amendments and the text of the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the effect of the Lords Amendments.

4.     Lords Amendments 2, 6 to 10 and 15 were in the name of the Minister. Amendments 1, 3 to 5 and 11 to 14 were opposed by the Government. Amendments 2 and 6 were tabled by the Minister at Third Reading to address inconsistencies created in the Bill by amendments made at Report that were opposed by the Government. (In the following Commentary, an asterisk appears in the heading to each of the paragraphs dealing with non-Government amendments.)


*Lords Amendments 1 to 6, 13 and 14

5.     Lords Amendments 2 to 6 would amend clauses 4, 7, 8 and 10 of the Bill to require a ballot to be held before any business rate supplement (“BRS”) could be introduced or an existing BRS could be varied. Lords Amendments 1, 13 and 14 are consequential on those amendments and would remove the references to the possibility that a ballot could not be held. As a result of these amendments, levying authorities would no longer be required to hold a ballot only where the supplement would fund more than one third of the projected total cost of a project.

Bill 116—EN                                              54/4

Lords Amendments 7, 10 and 15

6.     Lords Amendments 7 and 15 would insert a new Schedule into the Bill that would give certain local authorities power to make arrangements for a new type of Business Improvement District (“BID”) levy, to be known as “BRS-BID” levy. The levy could be imposed in areas where both a BID and BRS exist and would allow for the owners of properties to be involved in the BRS-BID. Under the Local Government Act 2003, property owners can have no formal involvement in BIDs unless their property is empty and not let, although they may choose to make voluntary contributions to the BID.

7.     The proceeds from the new BRS-BID levy could either fund the same project as the BID - by providing additional revenues or offsetting the contributions of ratepayers who are liable to both the BID and the BRS - or fund a different project. As for BIDs, a BRS-BID could not be established unless there were a successful ballot on the BRS-BID proposals.

8.     The new Schedule would confer powers that would allow the Secretary of State to make detailed provision on BRS-BIDs in secondary legislation. Amendment 10 specifies those powers that would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

9.     Amendment 7 would also amend clause 16 to provide that a BRS levying authority must have and publish in its BRS prospectus a policy on whether BRS-BID liability will be offset against BRS liability.

Lords Amendments 8 and 9

10.     Lords Amendment 8 would amend clause 27 to exempt the Greater London Authority (“GLA”) from the requirement to hold a ballot on any BRS that it were to introduce, or propose to introduce, with a chargeable period commencing on or before 1 April 2011. It would also exempt the GLA from the requirement to demonstrate that a BRS would fund additional expenditure (as required by clause 3(1)(b)) in the same circumstances. The amendment would also provide that a ballot is not required on any variation the GLA were to make to an existing BRS if the chargeable period commenced on or before 1 April 2011.

11.     Lords Amendment 9 is a drafting amendment.

*Lords Amendment 11 and 12

12.     Lords Amendments 11 and 12 are intended to prevent BRS levies being imposed for the first time, or increased, with retrospective effect following a backdated change to a national non-domestic rating list, unless the change is the result of an error or default on the part of the ratepayer.


13.     Lords Amendments 7 and 15 would increase the potential revenue that can be raised through BIDs in those areas where a BRS is introduced or in place. A BRS-BID would be levied only on property owners, however, if the proposal had been approved by a ballot of those who would be liable for the proposed BRS-BID levy.

14.     There would be no impact on the consolidated fund. The Secretary of State could incur some administrative expenses in determining appeals against a billing authority’s veto of the BRS-BID arrangements or if provision were made in regulations for the Secretary of State to deal with challenges to BRS-BID ballots on the grounds of a material irregularity.

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Prepared: 17 June 2009