Welsh Government Consultation - Business Rate Relief for Charities, Social Enterprises and Credit Unions – Recommendations from an independent report to the Welsh Government
Consultation launched: 23 April 2013
Consultation closes: 19 June 2013
In October 2012, the Welsh Government responded to the recommendations of the Business Rates Review Wales, an independent report from the Business Rates Task and Finish Group. Recommendation 15 proposed consultation with the charitable and retail sectors to review the business rates reliefs that are available to charities and social enterprises. The Minister for Economy, Science and Transport asked the Task and Finish Group to undertake this consultation and prepare specific recommendations on this issue. The IRRV provided written and oral response to this process.
Their independent report has now been published and makes ten recommendations as well as further issues for consultation.
The Welsh Government seeks views on these recommendations. These responses will inform any further action that is taken. This consultation will run for eight weeks and builds on the engagement already undertaken by the Task and Finish and the previous call for evidence.
Summary of Recommendations:
Recommendation 1 - Use Planning Class
It is not recommended that a new Use Planning Class be introduced at this stage, but further consideration should be given to enabling the aims of such a change to be realised.
Recommendation 2 - Zoning
Any approach that is adopted to zone or limit the number of charity shops in a given area should be done at a devolved level of responsibility; this should be a matter for local authorities.
Recommendation 3 - Business Improvement Districts
Charity shops and their representative associations should be encouraged to fully participate as members of local organisations such as BID schemes that aim to rejuvenate and develop high streets in our towns and city centres.
Recommendation 4 - Bringing Long-Term Empty Property into Use
Any business which takes up new occupation of a property which has been vacant for 12 months or more would enjoy rate relief of 50% for the FIRST year of occupation.
Recommendation 5 - Bringing Long-Term Empty Property into Use
A business occupying a RETAIL property in a town centre that has been vacant for 12 months or more would enjoy 50% rate relief for TWO years. In addition, social enterprises may apply to have this 50% rate relief extended beyond two years at the discretion of the local authority.
Recommendation 6 - Tax Avoidance
The government should consider the following measure to tackle tax avoidance: all commercial premises that are occupied and used for charitable purposes could be subject to an upper RV limit of, say, £36K.
Recommendation 7 - Diversity on the High Street
New thresholds for charity shop rate relief should be created that will limit the amount of relief available for charity shops occupying premises of higher Rateable Value. These changes should be phased in for existing charity shops.
Recommendation 8 - Rateable Value Thresholds
The RV thresholds set out above should be reviewed at the time of the 2017 Rating List and subsequent Rating Lists. The threshold RVs may then rise or fall according to the tone of the List.
Recommendation 9 - Future Rating List
When the next Rating List for 2022 is introduced, consideration be given to reducing the mandatory 80% charitable relief to 50% for all charity shops and that as much as possible of charitable reliefs should be left to the discretion of the local authorities.
Recommendation 10 - Monitoring of New Goods Sales
To further address the issue of unfair competition on the high street, the amount of new goods being sold by charity shops be more effectivelymonitored by charitable organisations themselves (e.g. the CRA) - particularly in the run up to the Christmas period.
The implementation of welfare reform by local authorities
The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee announced in October 2012 that it was conducting an Inquiry into the implementation of welfare reform by local authorities.
The Committee invited submissions from interested parties covering the progress made to date on the implementation of welfare reform by local authorities. Those making submissions were asked to consider the following issues, though the list was not exhaustive and respondents could select which issues they wished to cover.
- How effectively are the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government working together to implement Welfare Reform?
- Is the guidance available to local authorities from central government on implementing welfare reform adequate? Are there areas where more or better guidance is required?
- Is the Government’s timetable for implementing Welfare Reform achievable?
- Are local authorities being allocated sufficient resources to deliver services such as localised Council Tax Support and advice to claimants on Universal Credit?
- Are there financial risks to local authorities from Welfare Reform changes? Are such risks being adequately addressed?
- What impact have Welfare to Work schemes had, or are likely to have, on the numbers of benefit claimants?
- What evidence is there that local authorities are able to use effectively existing services or contracts for the delivery of new local Social Fund schemes?
- How will the separation of the administration of Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit affect claimants?
- How significant an issue is housing benefit fraud under the proposed new system and what measures are being taken to address it?
- Are there sufficient safeguards to protect social landlords from financial harm resulting from the payment of housing benefit direct to claimants?
The Institute submitted its evidence by the 14th December 2012 deadline.
Transforming bailiff action
This Ministry of Justice consultation paper sets out proposals for transforming bailiff action and providing more protection against aggressive bailiffs. The aim of the proposals is to simplify and clarify the process, improve the accountability of enforcement agents and address unnecessary or inappropriate enforcement activity. Deadline for responses: 14th May 2012.
Costs in Tribunals:Report by the Costs Review Group to the Senior President of Tribunals
Joint Response by: the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation, and the Rating Surveyors’ Association
A joint response to the ‘Costs in Tribunals’ Report, submitted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation; and the Rating Surveyors’ Association.
IRRV Evidence: Welsh Government Business Rates Policy Review
Call for evidence: Business Rate Policy Review
"We want your evidence and views on options for how the business rate
regime and related rate relief schemes can be modified to better encourage
economic development."Welsh Government
Start of consultation: 05/12/2011
End of consultation: 27/01/2012