Pubs lodge raft of rates appeals

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business rates in england and wales

Business rates appeals are on-going
Business rates appeals are on-going
Pubs are continuing to appeal against new business rate levels, with more than 2,000 appeals lodged since the end of June. The Valuation Appeals...

Pubs are continuing to appeal against new business rate levels, with more than 2,000 appeals lodged since the end of June.

The Valuation Appeals Tribunal said it has received a total of 6,971 appeals.

The continuing raft of appeals follows big increases in business rates at many pubs since the new levels were implemented in April — the average pub was hit by a 23% rise in rateable value.

The Valuation Office Agency said earlier this year: "Up until 30 June, we have received 4,880 appeals against the 2010 rating assessment."

However, the tribunal said that the 2010 appeals will not be dealt with until the new year because of a "surge of nearly 100,000 appeals against 2005".

Fleurets' ratings expert Michael Yass predicted that many appeals wouldn't be heard until next spring.

He expressed concern about the changes made to the way appeals are handled, which require more information from businesses.

Yass said: "We now have to have all the information to write the statement to the Valuation Office, so we need to get it all together at an earlier stage.

"People are realising how much earlier we need the information about their business, so they will have to operate differently.

"I think that this will make the process more efficient, but people will only say in hindsight whether this will be a good change or not."

However, the Morning Advertiser is continuing to hear reports of licensees being targeted by rogue surveyors who demand cash payments for appeals upfront but don't deliver.

One licensee who wished to remain anonymous said she had paid up to £1,000 to two ratings surveyors.

"I've paid other companies before and they've done nothing," she said.

Punch Taverns' director of legal and estates Stuart Gallyot said: "We have advised our partners to exercise caution if they are approached by anyone claiming to guarantee

significant reductions in rateable value.

"On a number of occasions, our rating surveyors have written to these firms on behalf of partners to request that they cease their activity and in some instances have raised concerns directly with trading standards."

Neill slams 'unsatisfactory' system

Community pubs minister Bob Neill says he thinks the current business rates system is "an unsatisfactory one".

However, Neill admitted changing the system would take time when he was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live. "The system is an unsatisfactory one, and not least because it is based upon rental values that were backdated to April 2008, when the economic situation was very different."

• What's your experience of appealing business rates? Call Gurjit Degun on 01293 610234 or email thewvg.qrtha@jvyyvnz-errq.pb.hx

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