Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced that he is delaying the Government response to the consultation over business rates until later in the year.
John Webber Head of Business Rates at Colliers said, “We seem to have a chancellor who has followed in a long line of chancellors in kicking the issue of business rates down the road. The government has delayed its announcement four times in the last year. We were supposed to hear in the Autumn, then in the New Year, then in the Budget and now it’s the Autumn again. This is despite the Treasury Select Committee producing a very credible report with sensible recommendations in Autumn 2019 which now seems to have been ignored - not to mention all the consultations and reviews we’ve had in previous years.
“It’s all very well for the Chancellor to say he is postponing the report to the autumn to allow him to make decisions when the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic has receded. But that really is shutting the stable door when the horse has bolted. High business rates is one of the key factors that has helped decimate our high streets and the current system is skewed against the retail and hospitality sectors. We urgently need to re-balance this 50% tax by re-basing the multiplier to 30p in the £1 for a start, and we need more frequent revaluations so that we don’t see rates tied to totally out of sync rental values*.
Procrastinating over this now is only going to mean more job losses across the economy - long before the Autumn arrives.”
* Rates are currently calculated according to the rentable value of properties in 2015 and have an annual inflationary uplift, or multiplier.