Business Rates

Katy Stone made this Freedom of Information request to Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,

Please can you provide me with the following information under the
Freedom Of Information Act 2000:-

The most up to date list you can obtain with;
(a) List all Commercial properties with their Rateable Values and addresses.
(b) The names and addresses of the Rate payers referred to above
for each property and their correspondence address (if different
from the property address)
(c) The full billing authority reference for each property
(d) The current liability payable for the year 2015/16 & 2016/17
(e) The date the rateable occupier first became liable for the
business rates
(f) If the property is empty that date it became empty
(g) Please also state which hereditament is currently receiving
I. Charitable rate relief (mandatory rate relief)
II. Discretionary rate relief
III. Empty property rate relief
IV. Listed building exemption
V. Retail Relief
VI Small Business Rate Relief
VII. Any other relief
(h) List of all credits on account and the amounts

Thanking you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Katy Stone

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Dear Ms Stone

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST REF: 2016-0509

I am writing to confirm that we received your information request on 23April 2016. For your information and future communications your request has been allocated the reference number FOI2016-0509. Please quote this reference in any future correspondence.

We will consider your request and respond in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Our duty is to respond promptly or at least within 20 working days.

Regards

Paul Stott Data Protection Officer Shared ICT Service
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
The Town Hall, Hornton Street, London, W8 7NX
Tel: 07739315339
Email: [email address] Website: www.rbkc.gov.uk

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Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

1 Attachment

Dear Ms. Stone

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REF: 2016-0509

 

I am responding to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000,
which we received on 23 April 2016, for information held by the Council.
You requested:

 

Please can you provide me with the following information under the Freedom
Of Information Act 2000:-

 

The most up to date list you can obtain with;

(a) List all Commercial properties with their Rateable Values and
addresses.

(b) The names and addresses of the Rate payers referred to above for each
property and their correspondence address (if different from the property
address)

(c) The full billing authority reference for each property

(d) The current liability payable for the year 2015/16 & 2016/17

(e) The date the rateable occupier first became liable for the business
rates

(f) If the property is empty that date it became empty

(g) Please also state which hereditament is currently receiving I.
Charitable rate relief (mandatory rate relief) II. Discretionary rate
relief III. Empty property rate relief IV. Listed building exemption V.
Retail Relief VI Small Business Rate Relief VII. Any other relief

(h) List of all credits on account and the amounts

 

I confirm that we hold the information request. Please note that we do not
release information that will identify empty properties or credits for the
reasons below.

 

The First Tier Tribunal ruled in Voyias v Information Commissioner and LB
Camden (Case No. EA/2011/0007) that the public interest lies in
withholding the addresses of empty properties:

 

[1]http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

 

The Information Commissioners Office has decided that this applies to the
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea:

 

[2]https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

 

Under section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, we are permitted
to withhold information if disclosure would, or would be likely to
prejudice the prevention and detection of crime. We believe that the
disclosure of addresses of empty properties in the borough would likely
lead to squatting and other criminal activity in and/or around these
properties.

 

If a list of empty properties were to be disclosed then these properties
would become more vulnerable to potential squatters and other criminal
acts such as theft and vandalism.

 

Section 31 is a qualified exemption so the Act requires us to consider
whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in
maintaining the exemption. We recognise that there is a significant public
interest in the disclosure of Council information in the interest of
transparency and accountability. Certainly the Council are accountable for
empty properties in the Borough and we understand that information may be
requested to help bring these properties back into use, which would be in
the financial and commercial interest of the public.

 

However, we believe that there is a strong argument in avoiding the likely
prejudice to the prevention of crime. It is in the public interest to
protect property and to avoid the considerable public expense that would
be incurred dealing with crime associated with empty properties.
Furthermore, we feel that public interest lies in preventing the distress
that is caused to victims of crime. Residents who live in close proximity
will also be affected by crime committed in the area and they will have a
reasonable expectation of feeling secure in their homes.

 

Although there is a strong public interest in bringing empty properties
back into use, our immediate concern is the protection of property and the
well being of residents. Therefore we have decided that the public
interest in avoiding prejudice to the prevention of crime outweighs the
public interest in disclosure.

 

Under section 31(1)(a) of the FOI Act, we are permitted to withhold
information if its disclosure would prejudice the prevention and detection
of crime. We believe that the disclosure of credits on accounts would be
likely to prejudice the prevention and detection of crime. There is a real
and significant risk that disclosing the detail of business rates credit
balances will lead to fraudulent claims being made to the Council for
payment of the credit.

 

The act also requires us to consider whether the public interest in
disclosure outweighs the public interest in maintaining the exemption. We
recognise that there is public interest in the release of this information
for transparency and accountability reasons. However, it is not in the
public interest to disclose information which could lead to a criminal
act. Furthermore, the council issues credit notes on a weekly basis so
ratepayers can quickly claim their full refund. The council will also
provide to those agents acting on behalf of a ratepayer with data on
credits and overpayments if the agents provide letters of authority.

 

It has therefore been concluded that the public interest lies in
withholding the information.

 

Complaints

 

I trust this has satisfied your request. Should you be unhappy with the
handling of your request, the Council has an internal complaints process
for handling FOIA complaints. Complaints are reviewed by the Chief
Solicitor and Monitoring Officer or her nominee. A form is available from
our website to lodge your complaint
[3]http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/councilanddemocra...
Please contact us if you do not have website access and we can provide you
with a copy of the form. Following this review, should you still be
unhappy with how your information request has been handled, you have a
further right to appeal to the Information Commissioner who is responsible
for ensuring compliance with FOIA.  

 

Yours sincerely

 

Robin Yu

Information Protection Assistant

Shared ICT Service

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

The Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX

Tel: 020 7938 8226

 

Email: [4][email address] | Website: [5]http://www.rbkc.gov.uk  

Leighton House Museum

The Pre-Raphaelites on Paper: Victorian drawings from the Lanigan Collection on show until Sunday 29 May 2016

Http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/laniganexhibition

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References

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1. http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...
2. https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
3. http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/councilanddemocra...
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/