Government urged to reconsider business rates overhaul

January 31, 2017

Some firms are being faced with a huge rise in their bills, thanks to new rates due to take effect in April.

Prime Minister Theresa May is being urged to reconsider “penal and unfair” rises in business rates which represent the first change in almost a decade. For the first time, the government will be able to charge some businesses an extra 42% per year after a cap, which set the maximum amount bills could increase by at 12.5%, was lifted.

Some retailers can expect their annual business rate bill to rise by more than 400% by 2022. Business leaders are urging Mrs May to do more to limit rises in business rates or even delay them completely until the country has left the European Union. The Federation of Small Businesses has said that business rates are a fundamentally flawed, regressive tax which is not linked to ability to pay.

Business rates date back to 1601 and are calculated according to the rental value of the property used by a company. The revaluation in April, the first for seven years, will result in companies paying rates which have been calculated to take into account the rise in property prices since 2008.

The British Chambers of Commerce has warned that the increase in business rates risks making the UK less competitive and urged the government to focus on reducing rates instead of cutting corporation tax.

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