Instead the department is providing the exemption by reimbursing local authorities that use discretionary relief powers under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988
to grant relief.
Councils are permitted to grant temporary rates relief under the Local Government Finance Act 1988
to companies who have mothballed part of their works.
This is defined in the Local Government Finance Act 1988
as 'matters affecting the physical state or a physical enjoyment of the hereditament' (property).
The Inland Revenue was slower on the uptake, and did not start a pilot exercise until the mid-1990s, although with hindsight, section 127 of the Finance Act 1988
can be seen as preparing the ground since it extended the definition of a document to include computerised records.
The Local Government Finance Act 1988
acknowledged this as a problem and brought in the current relief of three months rate-free for all properties and 50 per cent for shops and offices thereafter.