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Third year of increased business rates bills impacting on London theatre life says Colliers

Escalating business rates are continuing to put pressure on London’s entertainment industry according to latest figures from Colliers International, the global property agency and consultancy. Theatres and venues are now seeing new bills for the year dropping on their doormats which will show the third set of rises since the 2017 Revaluation, with many bills double what they were three years ago. Such bills will need to be paid from April 1st.

Colliers has analysed the business rates rises of the 55 London theatres that saw the highest rises in their rateable value (RV) following the 2017 Revaluation and found that they are now paying a rates bill of £10.4 million in 2019/20, compared to £6.8m three years ago. Some have individually seen eyewatering rises. The Royal Opera House for example will see a rates bill of £1.3 m this year. Three years ago, it paid £432,500- a rise of 203%. The Hammersmith Apollo will have seen a 118% hike over the period- now paying a bill of around 194,000 a year, from under £90,000 before the Revaluation.  As John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers comments, “That’s a lot of seats and ice creams to sell.”

Theatres: Business Rates Rises Since the 2017 Revaluation

*Pre 2017 Revaluation   **Third set of rises post Revaluation


Rates Bill 2016/7 *

Rates Bill


Year 1 Post Revaluation

Rates Bill


Year 2 Post


Rates Bill ** 2019/20

Year 3 Post Revaluation

% Increase


Royal Opera House




£1.3 m


Eventim Apollo Hammersmith






Leicester Square Theatre






Royal Albert Hall






Dominion Theatre






Young Vic






Phoenix Theatre






Sadlers Wells






Victoria Palace






Her Majesty’s Haymarket






New Wimbledon Theatre











+ 49%

And worryingly these rises are not the end. Bills will continue to rise next year and the following year, until they reach the level required by the Revaluation. By 2021/22 The Royal Opera House, for example will see an annual rates bill of over £1.57 million.

The reason for the hike is because those high value properties in England (over £100,000 Rateable Value), which constitutes a large part of the London theatre world are affected by ‘upwards phasing’ in their bills and will this year see their rises “capped at 49% plus inflation”.  In other words, many theatres and venues in these areas of central London will have rates bills for 2019/20 which are 50% bigger than in 2018/9 – a massive rise in one year alone.  This is on top of 42% increases (plus inflation) in 2017/18 and 32% (plus inflation) in 2018/19 - a combined increase in three years of a staggering 124% plus inflation.

John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers International said, ““Whilst London is a major tourist location and famous for its amazing theatre and opera life, we need to be careful that we don’t overboil the broth. Our entertainments industry is facing increased pressures at the moment with escalating costs, and business rates rises are not helping. Rising costs usually means rising prices for the consumer to pay- but there will come a point when this market just won’t be able to put up its prices any further to cover costs.”

John Webber concluded, “Last month the Parliamentary Select Committee said it was going to look at how to help the retail sector and recommended alleviation to the business rates burden. This is all very good, but the pain this unfair tax causes goes much wider than pure retail. We need a widespread reform across all sectors of the market. London’s West End theatre world is no exception”

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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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