Unwelcome News on Business Rates

George OsborneIn his recent speech at the Conservative Party Conference the Chancellor made some rather dramatic statements with regard to commercial Business Rates.

The most surprising announcement was the return to the old days involving the scrapping of the Uniform Business Rate (UBR).  UBR gave businesses certainty across England that their rate in the pound would be the same whether they traded from Stratford in London or Stratford-upon-Avon.  Companies also had the security of knowing their rate liability the following year would only increase by the RPI for the September of the preceding year.

However, the Chancellor’s announcement will mean that local authorities will be able to charge their own rate in the pound which will result in a similar situation to pre-1990 where some southern councils were as low as £1.20 in the pound whilst some councils in the north were charging almost £4.00 in the pound.

Apart from the difficulties and uncertainties facing businesses it will make checking demands and calculating ongoing liabilities much harder; there has so far been no mention of a limit on the amount the rate in the pound can increase yearly which could, in essence, mean businesses face very different liabilities from year to year and are somewhat at the mercy of their local council.

With regard to the Revaluation, it has been announced that “Draft Rating List Figures” will be made public in October 2016 on the Valuation Office website, so unlike the 2010 List, valuations will not be mailed out to businesses, leaving them to go online to find the new figures attributable to their properties.

All in all, this is not the news local businesses had been hoping for!

For information or assistance regarding Commercial Property please contact Suzanne James, Partner & RICS Registered Valuer.