11 May 2001
Rate relief change is law

By FWi staff

THE government has pushed through the legislation which will give rate relief for farmers wanting to diversify.

The Rating (Former Agricultural Premises and Rural Shops) gained Royal Assent on Friday (11 May).

The act will provide mandatory 50% relief for five years to all new, small-scale, non-agricultural businesses on farms with a rateable value of less than 6000.

Local councils will have discretion to boost this rate relief to 100% in some circumstances.

To qualify, properties will have to have been in agricultural use for at least half of the year before the relief comes into effect.

The act also extends the current village shop rate relief scheme to other small rural businesses.

Under the extended village shop scheme, mandatory 50% rate relief will be provided to all food shops with rateable values below 6000.

Again, councils will have the power to top up this relief to 1000% if they want.

They will also still have their existing discretion to give up to 100% relief to any eligible business in a settlement with a rateable value less than 12,000.

The Department of the Environment has pledged to implement the provisions of the act as soon as possible.

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