Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, writes to the Minister for Local Government to ask about the impact on local government funding of the Government's plans to reverse the effect of the so-called 'staircase tax'.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is currently consulting on proposals to reinstate the method by which business rates in multi-occupied properties were calculated by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) prior to a ruling by the Supreme Court in 2015.
The Government has published the draft Non-Domestic Rating (Property in Common Occupation) Bill with the intention of allowing the VOA to revert to using the previous method of calculation.
Under the legislation, ratepayers would be allowed to apply for reassessment retrospectively back to 2010, leaving the impact on individual local authorities unclear.
Businesses occupying two adjoining floors of a building or two rooms separated by a wall only, previously received just one rates bill, but since the ruling, separate units of property in a shared building are treated individually for ratings purposes.
In addition to the impact on local authority funding, the Committee is asking for information on the reasons behind the Government's intention to return to previous practice and how the legislation will be enacted.