Welsh Government Consultation: Changes to the Non-Domestic Rating Unoccupied Property Regulations in Wales
The Welsh Government has consulted on proposed changes to regulations designed to reduce avoidance of non-domestic rates. The new regulations will increase (from 6 to 26 weeks) the time a property needs to be occupied between periods of receiving empty property rates relief.
The consultation was open until 12 November 2020 and can be found at https://gov.wales/empty-property-rates-relief
The IRRV response can be found at: https://www.irrv.net/documents/weblinks/2020/11/Final-IRRV-Response-Wales-Empty-Property-Rates-Relief.pdf
Fundamental Review of Business Rates
HM Treasury has published the Call for Evidence (CfE) for the fundamental review of business rates, the terms of reference for which were formally announced alongside the March Budget. The CfE reaffirms the Government’s objectives for the review and invites views on ideas for reform on all elements of the business rates system and on alternative taxes.
The Government is seeking responses in two phases. It welcomes views on the multiplier and reliefs sections, as well as any other areas of pressing concern, by 18 September 2020, and responses on all other sections by 31 October 2020.
The full Written Ministerial Statement can be found at https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-07-21/HCWS400/.
The Institute's response to Phase one of the Review can be found at: https://www.irrv.net/documents/weblinks/2020/9/IRRV-Response-HMT-NDR-Fundamental-Review-Phase1.pdf
The Institute's response to Phase two of the Review can be found at: https://www.irrv.net/documents/weblinks/2020/10/IRRV-Response-HMT-NDR-Fundamental-Review-Phase2.pdf
Draft Regulations on Civil Penalties for Failure to Provide Information to Assessors (and Councils) under the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020
This paper set outs the procedures for appealing civil penalties for failure to provide information to assessors (and councils) as provided for in the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020. It includes a background note and draft regulations which are scheduled to be laid in Parliament on 20 October and which, subject to parliamentary procedures and scrutiny, would come into force on 4 December.
The draft regulations below were provided to the Barclay Implementation Advisory Appeals sub-group for preliminary discussion on 10 August. No change has yet been made to the version that was shared with the group. Scottish Government is seeking views on these draft regulations and would be grateful for comments by close of play on 2 September 2020.
The Institute's response is at: https://www.irrv.net/documents/weblinks/2020/9/IRRV-response-Assessors's-information-request-consultation.pdf
Fairness in government debt management: a call for evidence
The government is seeking evidence on how debt management practices can be improved and most effectively manage debts stemming from fraudulent activity. It welcomes evidence from the debt advice sector, private and public sector creditors, debt collection agencies, the voluntary sector and wider society, as well as from members of the public who wish to contribute. This consultation closed on 21 September 2020
The Institute's response is here.
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee is conducting an Inquiry into the economics of Universal Credit. The Committee will examine whether Universal Credit is meeting its original objectives and whether the policy assumptions reflected in its design are appropriate for different groups of claimants. It will also examine the extent to which Universal Credit meets the needs of claimants in today’s labour market and changing world of work.
Consultation on charitable rates relief for schools and hospitals in Wales
The consultation asks for views on whether there is a need to reform charitable rates relief for schools and hospitals. The Welsh Governement's intention is to ensure that the support it provides through its rates relief schemes is targeted in a fair and consistent manner. While the consultation is focused on charitable relief for schools and hospitals, they would also like to hear views on other approaches which might help to ensure that charitable relief is targeted effectively.
A copy of the consultation documents and the response form can be found at:
The Institute response is here
Scotland: Investing in and paying for water services: consultation
This consultation sought views on drafts of the two statutory inputs Scottish Ministers must make to the Strategic Review of Water Charges for the regulatory period 2021-2027 and key issues arising. Consultation closed on 5th April. The paper can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/investing-paying-water-services-2021-final-consultation/pages/1/
Questions are asked about
- The appropriateness of the final draft Principles of Charging. (For households, the structure of charges should continue to be set by reference to Council Tax bands (as at April 2015) and charges should be collected with Council Tax bills by local authorities).
- Whether the level of financial support provided for households that receive Council Tax Reduction should be increased (the Government proposes to increase the level of support provided through the Water Charges Reduction Scheme, from a 25% reduction to a 30% reduction, which will benefit around 141,000 households.
- Whether the eligibility criteria for this financial support should be extended to include all those in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and some other form of Council Tax discount?
- Whether the following three categories of currently exempt dwellings will be brought in to charge:
- New dwellings for the first six months; .
- Empty dwellings which are both unoccupied and unfurnished; and in respect of which less than 6 months have elapsed since the end of the last period of 3 months or more throughout which it was continually occupied.
- Dwellings under repair; if unoccupied and meeting certain conditions.