Enterprise

Written evidence submitted by the City of London Corporation (ENT 58)

Enterprise Bill [HL], Bill 112

Apprenticeships. Clause 21

1. The City supports the principle of protecting the term "apprenticeship" to tackle unscrupulous or misleading use by those who seek to offer sub-standard courses. The Bill seeks to protect the term by limiting its use in relation to training and courses which meet Government approved criteria or to describe an employee’s contract with his or her employer.

2. Concern has been raised over the interpretation of Clause 21. The concern is that the Clause could prevent Livery Companies of the City of London from continuing to deliver their assistance to employers and those wishing to become apprentices. They contribute substantially to bringing together potential employees and employers by facilitating the interest of young people in craft trades and gaining them employment in apprentice positions with employers undertaking their crafts. This facilitation does not take the form of courses or training but rather helps to match individuals to training.

3. The Livery Company activity described above seeks to promote the highest standards of design and craftsmanship. For example the Goldsmiths’ Company’s Foundation of the internationally recognised Craft & Design Council. Apprentices engaged as the result of Livery Company schemes have, for example, won the annual UKSKILLS competition, and one represented the UK at World Skills 2015 in Sao Paolo Brazil, achieving 8th position in the world in the Fine Diamond Mounting competition.

4. Discussions are taking place with BIS officials to clarify the intended scope of Clause 21 and to allay the concerns which have been expressed.

Non-domestic rates appeals. Clause 26

1. This part of the submission is made in the Common Council of the City of London’s capacity as a billing authority with liability for property of high rateable value (the second largest in the country with a total rateable value around £1,900 million). In this capacity, the City Corporation has, in addition, a responsibility to its ratepayers. This submission is also made in the City’s capacity as a property owner with a large portfolio of investment property. The proposals are also relevant to the City as a collector and as a payer of non-domestic rates.

2. At a time of greater devolution of business rates, appeals against business rate assessments will have an increasing impact on authority income. Appeals that result in the reduction of the rateable value of business premises will affect revenues. The City – as with London boroughs - needs sight of appeal information so as better to plan the economic development of our area and, in the future, the effect on our finances.

3. As recent Centre for Cities reports highlight - the Government's devolution of business rates will mean cities are more dependent on the money they raise and retain locally to pay for the services they provide, see Beyond Business Rates here and Cities Outlook 2016 here.

4. It may be suggested that landlords and tenants do not wish all of their lease details to be published widely, for example as part of a sharing of information with ‘third parties’ to an appeal. There is, however, no need for such publication. The City suggests that interested parties, i.e. those whose properties had been valued by the Valuation Office Agency having regard to a piece of rental evidence, should be able to view a summary of that evidence and then make further enquiries should they need to do so to satisfy themselves of the details.

5. Billing authorities should be notified of any appeals lodged in their areas and should able to choose to be involved from the start of the process in relation to all hereditaments within their area –billing authorities have an interest in the rateable values of all properties in the area. Authorities should be allowed to participate in the appeals process, being making proposals and being party to and appearing at appeals at the Valuation Tribunal. They should be allowed to be professionally represented at Valuation Tribunal. The significance of this request is amplified when it is recognised that, when full business rates retention comes in to force in 2020, the economic development of an area and the income for an authority will be closely linked to the generation of business rates revenue.

6. To increase certainty over the appeal process, it is important that any proposals reforming business rate appeals ensure the appeal process is kept as short as possible.

Submitted by the Office of the City Remembrancer

February 2016

 

Prepared 18th February 2016