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Budget 2020: kick in the teeth for large businesses and major employers as govt confirms yet another review into business rates

11 03 20 rates retail head

“This Chancellor doesn’t get rates done” says Colliers.

The party of Brexit is still happy to sit behind state aid rules as the country faces an ‘economic Battle of Britain' according to John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers International.

Webber believes today’s announcements by the Chancellor concerning business rates do nothing to alleviate the fundamental problems with the current system and merely delay proper reform, kicking it into the long grass.

Key measures in the package for revitalising high streets and helping smaller businesses, many that will be impacted by Covid-19 include:

  • Extending the retail discount on business rates from 50% to 100% for next year, for those retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000. This would effectively abolish business rates for these smaller businesses in the year ahead.
  • Extending this 100% discount to include retail, leisure and hospitality venues.
  • Promising a review into Business rates reform for the longer term- to report in the Autumn.
  • Increasing reliefs to pubs, who already receive a £1,000 business rates relief- designed to help them stay as vital centres of their communities.

However, as John Webber comments, “Whilst helping SME’s is to be applauded, there is nothing in the Budget that tackles the issues of the larger businesses – and these are the ones shedding the jobs.”

“Without helping larger businesses on business rates, the silent majority is side-lined yet again.”

Webber also points out that State Aid rules, as they stand, currently remove all but the smallest businesses from the Government’s help.

“Instead, Business Rates Relief under s44A LGFA 1988 should and could have been used for underused buildings – if funded by Central Government this would not be subject to state rules therefore would help all businesses, providing a much more targeted and valuable relief for those hardest hit by the oncoming economic storm.”

“And promising “yet another” review of business rates, to be heard in the Autumn, seems non-sensical when the issue has already had a detailed review and the Treasury Select Committee gave its recommendations last November, many of which appear to be ignored. One wonders what was the point of all the expenditure in time and money, if we are purely to review again.”

Webber concludes, “This Government claims it is the Government to “Get Things Done”. This is not “done” in my book. Yet again another trick has been missed in the chance to get some proper reform.” 

” Unless business rates are properly reformed, as recommended by the Treasury Select Committee, these plans will do nothing to counter the impact of the 2017 business rates revaluation and introduction of downward phasing and simply won’t go far enough to help retailers struggling with their current rate bills. We are now destined to see more shop closures and job losses in the high street in the months ahead.”

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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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Rebecca Allen

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I have been working in commercial property communications for over 10 years  having previously worked at CBRE and Savills.

In my role at Colliers I am responsible for the PR of National Capital Markets, London Offices and Investment Property  Management teams as well as Scotland.

My role includes:

  • Creating and exectuing PR plans for business lines that span press, marketing and digital channels
  • Media monitoring and reporting
  • Advising on brand, tone of voice and profile raising 
  • Journalist relationship building through face to face meetings, phone calls day to day assistance with stories
  • Reputation management of the Colliers brand



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