On 30 March 2017 the member for Nuneaton, and then Minister for Local Government Mr Marcus Jones in a Written Ministerial Statement set out the Government’s policy on the treatment of plant nurseries in England for the purposes of business rates stating that:
“Since at least 1928, plant nursery grounds have been treated by the Valuation Office Agency as exempt from business rates as part of the general exemption for agriculture. However, following a recent Court of Appeal decision, the Valuation Office Agency has started to bring into business rates buildings at nursery grounds including structures such as poly-tunnels. The exemption for agricultural properties is an important part of the rating system. It ensures that large areas of agricultural land and buildings are not liable to a property tax which could have a significant impact on the cost of farming.”
I can confirm to the House that the Government’s policy remains that land and buildings at plant nursery grounds should benefit from the agricultural exemption for business rates.
The Government will, therefore, amend the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to ensure both agricultural land and buildings at plant nursery grounds are exempt from business rates. We will bring forward legislation at the next suitable opportunity to meet this commitment. In doing so the legislation will be amended retrospectively, with effect from 1 April 2015. This will allow the Valuation Office Agency to remove from the rating list with effect from 1 April 2015 any plant nurseries which then fall to be exempt from that date.
This change will ensure that agricultural land and buildings are not liable for a property tax which could otherwise have an impact on the cost of farming and produce. It supports the Government’s commitment to a vision for a productive, competitive, sustainable UK agricultural sector.
- Previous WMS 30th March 2017 – Marcus Jones
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: