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Colliers call for “discretionary business rate relief” for businesses due to Covid-19 Disruption

10 03 20 retail business rates

Business rates experts at Colliers International have called for the Government to consider and to fund a system of “discretionary rate relief” for businesses impacted by the Coronavirus- as one of the measures to alleviate business pain in this week’s Budget 2020.

Against a background in which may see space “under-utilised” as shoppers keep away from stores and restaurants, warehousing for imported goods stay empty and increasingly office staff stay at home, Colliers believes the Budget would be a good opportunity for the Government to provide this emergency relief.

Currently “discretionary rate relief” can be granted under Section 44A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, but this is currently funded by the Billing Authority, (Local Authorities) who, given constraints already on local finances, are reluctant to award. Colliers suggests the Government should take this under central control and support businesses struggling following coronavirus, with a discretion relief, centrally funded.

As John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers said, “Already we are starting to see the economic impact of Covid-19, with a falling stock market and some major cities in lock down. The impact on ordinary businesses could be huge. We urge the Government to look at measures to help support businesses and providing relief via business rates would be a good start- particularly if funded centrally.”

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John Webber

Head of Rating



I have over 35 years’ experience in the rating industry and lead a 135 plus rating team at Colliers.  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' UK Management Executive as well as sitting on the company’s Balance in Business Committee. 

I am regularly called upon by the national media to give my views on a range of business rates issues and I am involved in lobbying MPs/ministers and senior civil servants on business rates matters.

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). 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.  I have also held the postion as Chair of the RICS Rating Diploma Committee having passed the prestigious qualification in 2014. I currently sit on the Rating Surveyors Association National Committee .

Along with Philip Harrison we 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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Hannah Zitren

Associate Director

Marketing & Communications


I am responsible for media relations and generating coverage in top tier broadcast and print media. I work across a range of Colliers’ UK & Pan-EMEA business lines advising on their strategic and tactical PR needs.

My role includes:

·         Developing and executing PR plans for the various business lines to help promote their key messages across all aspects of the media - print, broadcast and social.

·          Media evaluation and reporting objectives, targets and successes across the business.

·         Reputation management and crisis management.

·         Media training.

·         Media engagement: setting up meetings with top tier media and various internal spokespeople to continuously expand and build a presence with property and vertical media network.

·         Consistently delivering service excellence, meeting with business heads of a regular basis and trying to influence the research as much as possible to ensure our content has a strong enough news hook.

·         Key campaigns that I work on include MIPIM; MAPIC; REVO; Midsummer Retail Report; IHIF; Cities of Influence in addition to a host of all alternative property sector research reports.

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