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This note explains the current debate on reform of local government finance in England. This includes a description of how business rate retention works; the Government’s proposals for changes to the system; the Government’s Fair Funding Review; and the 2020-21 ‘fundamental review’ of business rates.

The policies covered in this note have effect in England only. Responsibility for business rates, and for local government generally, is devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For a more general explanation of the business rates system in England, see the Library briefing paper Business rates. For more details on the 2017 revaluation of business rates in England, Wales and Scotland, see the Library briefing paper Business rates: the 2017 revaluation.


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