Explanatory Notes

Rating (Former Farm Premises and Rural Shops) Act 2001

2001 CHAPTER 14

11 May 2001


Non–agricultural premises on what had previously been agricultural land and buildings

3.The Act establishes a 50% mandatory rate relief scheme for land and buildings used for non-agricultural purposes on what had been agricultural land and buildings for at least 183 days during the year prior to the date on which the provisions come into force. The mandatory relief will not be available to stud farms, which already benefit from an existing concession that reduces their rateable value. Local authorities will have a discretionary power to increase the relief to 100% where they feel the changed use will be of benefit to the wider community – new stud farms on previously agricultural land will also be able to qualify for this discretionary relief.

4.Both mandatory and discretionary relief will initially be limited to a maximum of 5 years, with a provision for this to be extended by Order made by the Secretary of State. However, premises that include land and buildings already qualifying for relief prior to any extension will only receive relief for a maximum of 5 years from the date the original land and buildings first qualified for relief. It is intended that relief will be limited to properties with rateable values of less than £6,000.

Extension of mandatory 50% rate relief to village food shops

5.The Act also extends mandatory 50% rural rate relief, currently only available to the sole village general store and post office, to all village shops that sell mainly food for human consumption, excluding the provision of catering and confectionery. The shops must have a rateable value of not more than £6,000, the same as the existing threshold for general stores and post offices, and be situated in a qualifying settlement. Food shops receiving mandatory relief will also be eligible for top-up relief of up to 100% at the discretion of the local authority.

6.The Act will extend to both England and Wales but allows for separate commencement powers to be exercised by the National Assembly for Wales and for the power to make orders in relation to Wales to be exercised by the Assembly.