Property firm Colliers International has started the e-petition against the proposal to delay the 2015 rating revaluation until 2017. If it receives 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.
Under the current proposals, restaurants hotels and pubs will continue to pay business rates based on top-of-the-market 2008 rents for a further two years. The original 2015 revaluation would have seen business rates calculated at 2013 rentable values. But, under the Government’s new plans, the 2017 change will be calculated at 2015 rentable values, which are likely to be even higher than 2013.
“Struggling businesses have been eagerly awaiting the 2015 revaluation as a relief from high rates bills,” said Colliers International’s national head of rating John Webber. “Having it deferred until 2017 simply means that any decreases in their bills or chance of clawing much needed money back from the Government will have to be deferred.
“At a time when businesses need all the support they can get from Government, this is just another slap in the face. And while the Government is stating that it won’t increase rate bills more than inflation, postposing the revaluation means many businesses are being denied decreases in real terms.
“For some ailing High Streets, this really could be the final nail in the coffin. This is why we are urging the Government to rethink its proposal and in doing so help to save our High Streets.”
The announcement to postpone the rating revaluation was made by Brandon Lewis MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Industry experts immediately hit out, claiming it will create a ‘toxic cocktail’ for UK hospitality businesses.
Last week’s Autumn Statementdid see Chancellor George Osborne offer some help to hospitality businesses with key measures including corporation tax being cut by a further 1 per cent, the annual investment allowance in plant and machinery increasing ten-fold, and small business rate relief being extended for another year.
But Don Baker, chairman of ratings at business rates specialist CVS, argues the Government has missed a ‘vital opportunity’ to support British businesses battling high rates bills.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement to exempt newly-built commercial property from empty property rates - that’s one step in the right direction,” said Baker.
“However, by failing to lower high business rates bills the Government has missed an opportunity to help the vast majority British firms to beat the recession. The Government needs to look again at the business rates appeals system to reduce the 240,000 backlogged appeals and help firms lower their bills swiftly and with confidence.
These businesses need their over-paid money returned to them now, so the Chancellor has missed a trick by resourcing HMRC to target tax evaders but not resourcing the Valuation Office to clear the rates bill backlog.
To sign the e-petition to stop the Government’s planned postponement of the 2015 business rates revaluation, click here.