FOI reference: FOI/17/02453
Date received: 19 October 2017
Date responded: 16 November 2017
You asked for any information on the balance of the non-domestic rate 'pool' in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. Information should include the balance of the pool, the deficit for each year, the cumulative net deficit, any documents that explain why the pool is in deficit, any documents explaining the forecasts for non-domestic rates and any documents explaining why those forecasts may be inaccurate.
Information regarding the balance, deficit and the cumulative net deficit on the non domestic rating account can be found in the annual Non Domestic Rating Accounts. For 2014-15 see Annex A and for 2015-16 see Annex B.
Please note that the latest Non Domestic Rating Account for 2016-17 will be published shortly.
The annual Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics publications include an Annex which sets out how the annual Distributable Amounts for the relevant years were calculated. For 2014-15 please see Annex C and for 2015-16 see Annex D. Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics for 2016-17, similar to the 2016-17 Non Domestic Rating Account will be published shortly.
I have also enclosed a document explaining the non domestic rates forecast model (Annex E) along with a more general document explaining Non Domestic Rates income (Annex F). Both documents set out the many variable factors that can result in the outturn being significantly different from the forecast in any one year. It is also important to note that the Distributable Amount must be set before the beginning of the relevant financial year and the legislation prohibits any change to the Distributable Amount during the financial year in question.
Finally regarding an explanation for why forecasts may be inaccurate I have enclosed a document explaining the historic accuracy of Non Domestic Rates income forecasts (Annex G). I hope the information provided demonstrates that outturn and forecasts are considerably different but this does not mean that the forecasts were inaccurate at the time they were estimated.
Please note that under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
Under section 27(1) of FOISA, public authorities can refuse to disclose information if they already plan to publish it within 12 weeks of a request.
Annex A - 2014-15 Non Domestic Rating Account: Non Domestic Rating Account 2014-2015
Annex B - 2015-16 Non Domestic Rating Account: Non Domestic Rating Account 2015-2016
Annex C - 2014-15 Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics: Financial Statistics 2014-15
Annex D - 2015-16 Scottish Local Government: Financial Statistics 2015-16
Annex E - Non Domestic Rates Forecast Model (PDF,103.9KB)
Annex F - Non Domestic Rates Income (PDF,88.5KB)
Annex G - Historic Accuracy of Non Domestic Rates (PDF,78.0KB)
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House