MPs call for business rates revaluation rethink
MPs at an influential Parliamentary debate have backed the British Property Federation's criticism of the Government's decision to postpone the revaluation of business rates until 2017, arguing that ‘business rates are killing UK retail'.
The decision, announced last week, has faced a string of criticism claiming it will lead to businesses continuing to pay rates based on top of the market 2008 rents.
With high street retail particularly struggling, the postponement will see these top of market rates locked in for a further two years, rather than being readjusted downwards in line with today's economic situation.
The BPF, working with the British Council for Shopping Centres, had outlined to MPs that the Government's approach to business rates risked hampering the recovery of struggling high streets. In a four-point plan to reform business rates, the trade bodies urged the Government to:
- Cancel its planned postponement of the revaluation of business rates
- Reduce next year's planned 2.6% rise in business rates to 2%, in line with that Bank of England's target for inflation of 2% as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
- Review the RPI linkage to business rate hikes
- Reintroduce targeted relief on empty property in order to increase investment in high streets and boost economic growth
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, told the debate that "business rates are what are killing UK retail" and that the Valuation Office Agency's "failure to run the appeals process successfully is damaging businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises."