Edited by Richard M. Bird and Enid Slack
Chapter 5: Property Taxation in the United Kingdom
Enid Slack The United Kingdom is a unitary kingdom consisting of four parts: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The structure of local government varies across the UK. In England, there are four types of government structure. First, in the London area, there is the Greater London Authority (which includes the Metropolitan Police Authority, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Transport for London and the London Development Agency), the London boroughs and the City of London. Second, metropolitan districts deliver services in the six metropolitan areas (Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire). Third, areas outside of London and the metropolitan areas are called shire areas. Most of these have two tiers of local authority – shire districts (the lower tier) and shire counties (the upper tier). In some shire areas there is a third tier known as a parish or town council. Fourth, there are 46 unitary authorities in the shire areas. Property taxes on residential property (known as the council tax) are set locally; business rates on non-residential property (also known as non-domestic rates) are set nationally. This chapter reviews council taxes and business rates separately and discusses the reform of each of these taxes in 1993. Although national taxation is the same in all parts of the UK, there are variations in local taxation. Most of the discussion here is based on how these taxes are applied in England. Revenue importance Council taxes and business rates are an important source of...
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