Business rates must remain high on the agenda, says Colliers

13th December 2022 | Jack Oliver

The head of business rates at Colliers, John Webber, has said that MPs must continue to challenge the Government on progress with business rates reforms.

This comes ahead of a Parliament Backbench Business Committee Debate taking place this week, led by the MP for Waveney Peter Aldous. The committee will discuss business rates and the debate will receive a ministerial response.

Despite decisions in the Autumn Statement welcomed by many, Webber believes these measures are the tip of the iceberg:

“In his Autumn statement, the Chancellor was, in reality, merely putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound.”

“Whilst we welcome the freezing of the multiplier and removal of downwards transition, the fundamental flaws of the business rates system remain”, he added.

Colliers said that as a result of valuations being given in the midst of Covid while properties were closed and deals were being struck, some of the larger stores such as those on Oxford Street as well as hypermarkets or shopping centres will see bigger drops in their rateable value and rates bills from April.

The real estate company said that smaller, underrepresented traders may not see much reduction at all.

“Unless this discrepancy between those well represented and those who are not is dealt with, the Government’s levelling up agenda will be meaningless”, said Webber.

Other issues Colliers called on Parliament to discuss included a lack of transparency on the rating system from the Valuation Office Agency as well as an “ill-equipped” appeal system, which it feels unfairly targets smaller businesses. They also called on the Government to clamp down on “rogue” rating advisors, who they feel prey on such businesses.

Colliers also said that the ratings multiplier is still far too high, and said that business rates reliefs should be reviewed every three years.

Webber added: “We urge MPs to call out the government if it continues to ignore the call for urgent reform and help those businesses in their constituencies floundering in this over burdensome and unfair system. Only then can the government’s levelling agenda finally be achieved.”


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