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Latest business rates appeals figures reveal record number of cases resolved by the VOA

27 01 22 Latest business rates appeals figures reveal record number of cases resolved hero

Colliers question “amazing success” as hundreds of thousands of business rates appeals wiped out by Government legislation.

Latest CCA business rates appeals figures (to end December 2021) show the VOA has had the highest ever success rate in resolving checks and challenges since the list began on 1 April 2017. But according to business rates experts at Colliers, this result is only due to the Government outlawing COVID-19 MCC appeals in one foul swoop.

According to latest figures of the 625,070 checks registered since the start of the list, 617,420 (or a massive 99%) are now resolved.

And of 117,370 challenges, some 92,550 (or 79%) are now resolved also. Latest figures show there are now only 12,120 challenges in the list outstanding, compared to three months ago when there were 63,780 outstanding. According to Colliers, the impact of the government’s knock out legislation is evident.

As John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers says, “Looking at the latest stats, on the surface it appears that the VOA has had its most efficient and successful quarter ever in dealing with businesses appealing against their business rates and by implication that the current system is working.”

However, Colliers say, the reality is much darker. Last March the government, concerned about the enormous number of MCC appeals lodged by businesses impacted by COVID-19 (around 450,000 checks were registered by businesses since the first lockdown) took the unprecedented step of announcing it would legislate that COVID-19 MCC appeals would not be valid for the appeals system.

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.”  This move that was lambasted by the industry at the time, as unprecedented and “ripping up” the ratings rule book retrospectively.

In December 2021 this legislation became law and overnight the record number of appeals were struck out in one blow.

As John Webber comments, “Overnight nearly 450,000 businesses, who had paid their full rate bills during the pandemic, despite the disruption to their businesses, found the goalposts moved as they lost their right to appeal against their businesses rates bills. Many of these businesses are now still waiting for their share of the £1.5 billion business rates relief fund, for which guidance for distribution has only just been announced. Not only does £1.5 billion go nowhere near covering the amount of business rates rebates such businesses should have received, but its distribution is so unwieldly that it will take many months to reach the right pockets.”

“Meanwhile the VOA is able to announce squeaky clean results that give the appearance it is doing a great job and all in the garden is rosy. It’s a disgrace that such business distress has just been brushed under the carpet.”

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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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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.

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