Call for business rates overhaul

Posted on 21 Nov 2019 and read 775 times
Call for business rates overhaul A recent report by the Treasury Committee says the Government must explain whether it is deliberate that, since Business Rates were introduced in their current form in 1990, the revenue they have generated has outpaced inflation.

The report says: “Throughout this inquiry, the Committee has been told that Business Rates do not fall upon all businesses equally. For example, they place a far greater cost on physical businesses, such as those on the High Street, than those that rely more upon an online presence.

"Tweaking the current system of Business Rates through an increasingly complex web of reliefs does little to address the negative aspects of this tax and simply demonstrates how broken the system is.

"Business Rates are an important source of revenue, but the Government must explore alternatives to address their negative impacts.”

The Committee considered alternative options to replace or reform the current system, but it says further work is needed to fully model the proposals.

“The Government should take a deeper look at possible alternatives and prepare a consultation in time for the Spring Statement 2020.

"In the meantime, improvements could be made, including improving reliefs, reducing statutory limits for responding to appeals, and ensuring that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is properly resourced.”

Responding to the Treasury Committee’s report on the impact of Business Rates on business, Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB –, said: “As this report rightly sets out, the business rates system is broken, causing businesses and investment to flat-line.

"It is critical that politicians get a grip of this unfair tax that seemingly can’t be challenged.

As small firms have spent years managing their way through the political uncertainty, it’s time for politicians to show that they back small firms by finally tackling the issues that matter to them.

“The current Check, Challenge, Appeal system is diabolical, with the number of challenges progressing falling by 99.3%.

"Shockingly, it could take up to 950 days for a business to appeal a business rates bill.

"Unsurprisingly, this means that many small firms give up. As highlighted in the report, this is unacceptable.”

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