The Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018 (the Act) makes provision, where two or more hereditaments (or properties) occupied or owned by the same person meet certain conditions as to contiguity (are clearly linked or adjoining in some way), for those properties to be treated for business rates purposes as one single hereditament.
Consequently such properties will have one single business rates bill. This measure retrospectively reinstates particular features of business rates valuation practice which applied before the judgment of the Supreme Court in Woolway (VO) v Mazars  UKSC 53.
We worked with LGA Vice-Presidents, ministers and shadow ministers, MPs and Peers as the Bill made its way through Parliament to provide background information on the proposals, and influence the legislation on behalf of local government. We submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee, in order to put forward councils’ voice in the parliamentary process. We also provided briefings for parliamentarians at different stages of the Bill.
As well as seeking to influence the legislation, we also took the opportunity to raise councils’ voice in the debate on housing. In particular, we were successful in ensuring that councils’ calls for greater powers to build more homes to meet local need were heard in debates in both Houses of Parliament.
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