MPs have joined the outcry over the government’s decision to postpone the revaluation of business rates until 2017 – one stating that “business rates are killing UK retail”.
The decision, announced last week and reported on HousewaresLive.net, has faced a string of criticism and claims that it will lead to businesses continuing to pay rates based on top of the market 2008 rents. The postponement will see rates locked in for a further two years rather than being readjusted downwards in line with today’s economic situation.
Amongst those condemning the deferral are the British Independent Retailers Association, the British Property Federation and the British Council of Shopping Centres.
Now, Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk has told Parliament 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”.
Danczuk added: “As if that were not bad enough, out of the blue, with no notice given, the government then told us that they had decided to stop the 2015 business rates revaluation and carry it out two years later.
“There was no consultation with business, no detailed discussion of how the policy might affect economic growth, no consideration of how the policy might prevent the economy from being rebalanced along geographical lines.
“Relatively, rents in some sectors and locations will rise, while those in others will fall. It is important that the rating system has an in-built review system that reflects the dynamic nature of the property marketplace.
“We can then be sure that the tax burden is spread fairly – that those with the broadest shoulders pay the most, and those whose business may not be as profitable at a particular time pay less.”
The postponement of the revaluation also affects landlords forced to pay business rates on vacant premises. Mark Spencer, MP for Sherwood, told Parliament: “One issue on high streets in my constituency is that landlords are having to pay business rates on empty properties and therefore do not have the cash to invest in those properties in order to attract new tenants.”