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Latest business rates appeals figures reveal over 400,000 businesses still stuck in “No Man’s Land”

01 11 21 Latest business rates appeals figures reveal businesses still stuck in no mans land hero

Hundreds of thousands of businesses still stuck in the Appeals system as they await promised COVID-19 Reliefs.

Latest CCA business rates appeals figures (to end September 2021) show that since 1 April 2020, just after the start of the first lockdown, 446,620 checks (the first stage of the appeals process) have been registered by businesses against their business rates bills, most of whom had been impacted by COVID-19.

This means nearly three quarters of the total 605,530 appeals registered since the 2017 Rating List began - four and a half years ago - were registered in the last 18 months and shows the total disruption to hundreds and thousands of businesses caused by the pandemic.

Last March, concerned about the enormous number of MCC appeals lodged by businesses impacted by COVID-19, the Government took the unprecedented step of announcing it would legislate that such appeals would not be valid for the appeal system, a move that was lambasted by the rating profession at the time. Instead, the government offered a £1.5 billion business rates relief fund, which would “get cash to affected businesses in the most proportionate and equitable way.”

Six months on, the legislation relating to COVID-19 MCC provisions has still not passed through Parliament and become law and there are no signs it will be passed in the immediate future. As a result, not a penny of the fund has been paid out. Hundreds and thousands of businesses are therefore still stuck in the appeals system, with no obvious way forward.

As John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers said “The Chancellor was very silent on the matter of the compensation to businesses who had lodged COVID-19 MMC appeals when he discussed business rates in the Budget last week. As far as we are aware, neither the Government nor the billing authorities have engaged with the ratings industry or set out any guidance for businesses to apply to receive the relief fund promised. We are still very much in the dark.”

“As a result, we have over 400,000 businesses who paid their full rate bills during the pandemic, despite the disruption to their businesses, and are stuck in No Man’s land, with no clear way forward. The Government ripped up the rule book retrospectively and those hundreds of thousands of businesses who had gone to the trouble of registering through the tortuous CCA appeals system in good faith, have found the goal posts moved before their very eyes. It’s a disgrace!"

Other figures of note revealed by the latest CCA figures further illustrate how appallingly slow the business rates appeals system remains in resolving those rate payers who had managed to get past the Check system. Of 112,260 Challenges to the list to date, there are still 63,780 outstanding, 4.5 years into the list. Three months ago, this figure was 63,800.

"A system clearly not working” said Webber.

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John Webber

Head of Rating



I have over 30 years’ experience in the rating industry and lead a 90 plus rating team at Colliers International.  When I took over responsibility for the team in 2005, it consisted of only a dozen people and has now grown into one of the leading rating advisory teams in the country.  I am a member of Colliers International Management Executive as well as sitting on the company’s promotion panel. 

I am regularly called upon by the national media to give my views on a range of business rates issues and I am vocal commentator on the 2017 Revaluation.

I started my career in the Valuation Office Agency in Kidderminster.  I joined Gerald Eve in 2000 where I spent 10 years before moving to Gooch Webster (now Colliers International). I sit on the National Retail Panel of Rating Surveyors Association which provides guidance on how the RSA town committees work with the VOA and valuation matters.  John sits on the RICS Rating Diploma Committee having passed the prestigious qualification in 2014.

Philip Harrison and I founded 'Accurates' in 2007, the Collier's Compliance and Audit team, which although forms an integral part of the Rating Team is now a leading brand in its own right.

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Suzy Simpson

Head of Content, Communications and PR


London - West End

As Head of Content, Communications & PR for Colliers in the UK, I am responsible for driving the strategic direction of corporate communications, media relations, and the programming and production of multi-channel content to engage external and internal audiences across the UK.

Get in touch for help with: 

  • Content Communication Strategy 
  • Media Relations
  • Corporate & Internal Communications
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