Business Rates is still a hot topic with many different experts passing comment on the current legislation, the impact this is having on Businesses and what should be done By the Government to alleviate some of the difficulties. Rod Edwards, Director and Head of Rating provides a summary of some of these issues.
In September last year, former Focus Retail boss, Bill Grimsey released his report on the state of the High Street. The Grimsey Review made 31 recommendations to the Government, six of which related specifically to business rates:
The report makes interesting reading and the six points above specific to business rates make plausible sense. However, there has been a general tit-for-tat between Grimsey and Mary Portas since the review was released, with new High Streets Minister, Brandon Lewis, also chipping in and referring to much of the report as “a load of crap”. Presumably, with the latter two being backed by the Government, their responses are not a surprise, but with a significant amount of High Streets dying a death from the burden of high business rates, something needs to be done. The suggestions by Bill Grimsey are certainly a sensible step in the right direction and one that the rating industry and occupiers on the high street would welcome.
The Chancellor gave his Autumn Statement on Thursday 5th December 2013 which contained some important changes for business rates including:
At last the Government has finally woken up to the fact that the crippling level of business rates liability is having a major impact on the high street and small business. The changes are obviously a move in the right direction, but are very “retail” biased and do not take into account the many other struggling business sectors.
Business rates liability will still increase by just over 2% from 1st April 2014 with the revised multiplier being confirmed at 0.482 pence in the pound. The Government failed to mention the increase in the small business rate relief supplement from 0.009 to 0.011, so a stealth tax increase in the background when they were busy promoting their cap on the RPI increase!
The postponement of the 2015 Rating Revaluation was obviously ignored and the burden of empty rates liability fully remains on non-retail property. The commitment to clear 95% of rating appeals currently outstanding is a bold statement, which will simply not be achieved unless the Valuation Office Agency is forced to give greater transparency and co-operation to ratepayers and their agents.
To discuss how we can help you with any of your Rating issues, please contact our Rating team on 0333 6000 110 or click here to email
By Carl Gledhill
Richard joined Eddisons in 2003 and has been the Managing Partner since 2012, a role that sees him lead the strategic direction and development of the business under the ownership of Begbies Traynor Group plc. Richard has been instrumental in the growth of the business which has seen turnover more than double since 2008.
In addition to his role as Managing Partner, Richard continues to play a vital role with key clients, particularly in the banking sector, where he is a trusted adviser to major high street clearing banks. Over the last eight years, Richard has been appointed LPA Receiver on many high profile properties and assists in the recovery of distressed loan portfolios.
Prior to joining Eddisons, Richard worked in the real estate division of a 'Big Four' firm where his notable assignments included the privatisation of Saudi Telecom for flotation on the New York Stock Exchange.