The Government’s plans to delay the 2015 business rates revaluation is insulting the intelligence of the business community, according to a Birmingham rating expert.
John Webber, head of rating at Colliers International, said cancelling the revaluation, whereby business rates would have been based on values at 2013, is nothing short of a scandal.
“The Government is trying to position delaying a revaluation of business rates as a bonus for businesses but the opposite couldn’t be more true,” he said.
“Many businesses and retailers in hard pressed areas of the country have been eagerly awaiting the five yearly revaluation, due to happen next year. Current business rates are based on 2008 rental values, which are much higher than current figures.”
Mr Webber said rental values for many businesses have plummeted over the last four years. Retail rental values in Kidderminster, between 2008- 2012, for example, have fallen by 25 – 30 per cent. In comparison, Bond Street’s 2008 – 2012 retail rental values have increased by 50 per cent on average.
“A revaluation would have been welcome for pretty much anywhere other than Bond Street in London,” he said.
“Basically, the Government knows that at the 2015 revaluation a huge proportion of businesses would have had a very real expectation of a fall in their rateable values. I think you can draw your own conclusion as to where this government sees its priorities.
“The Government is stating that it won’t increase rates bills more than inflation. However, postponing the revaluation means many businesses are being denied decreases in real terms. The Government is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of business.
“Struggling businesses have been looking to 2015 as a relief from high rates bills. 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 until 2017.
“Instead of looking to increase the term of a five yearly revaluation, the Government should look to shorter revaluation cycles, to ensure that businesses are paying fair and relevant business rates.”