MPs attack plans to postpone the revaluation of business rates

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Taxation in the united kingdom Business rates in england and wales

MPs attack plans to postpone the revaluation of business rates
MPs attacked plans to postpone the revaluation of business rates during a debate in Parliament yesterday.

The Government has caused outrage by postponing business rate revaluations in England for two years until 2017, with the pub industry in particular concerned that many pubs would be left paying unfairly high rates for longer than they should.

During the debate in Westminster Hall, Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, said: “The Government are playing politics with business rates, which is hurting the high street and the wider business community.

“Retail has accounted for 20% of our gross domestic product, and it accounts for 11% of UK jobs and is the largest private sector employer. Retail is often the first rung on the ladder into employment for young people, but the ladder is now being pulled away by the Government.”

Anne Coffey, Labour MP for Stockport, said the postponement is “the retail equivalent of the poll tax” for the high street.
Conservative MP and qualified surveyor Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney, said: “There is real concern that another hike in rates will lead to fewer chances of work, less investment in the fabric of our town centres, which are so important to the country as a whole, and a more troubled high street.

“Any decision to postpone the five-yearly revaluation review needs more consideration, scrutiny and consultation.”
Brandon Lewis, the minister in charge of the proposal, defended the Government’s move. He highlighted figures from the Valuation Office Agency that show about 800,000 premises would have seen an increase and about 300,000 a decrease if rates were revalued.

“We are talking about the retail sector, petrol stations, hotels and pubs. Those kinds of business would have been most affected by hikes.”
He added: “Postponing the 2015 revaluation in England will avoid local firms and local shops having to face unexpected hikes in their business rate bills during the next five years. As business rates are linked to inflation, there will be no real-terms increase in rates over the period. The reform therefore provides certainty for businesses to plan and invest, supporting local economic growth.

“Since the last revaluation, which was based on 2008 valuations, the economy and property market have faced exceptional changes. A revaluation at this point would therefore be likely to result in sharp changes to business rate bills in many parts of the country and in many sectors. Tax stability is vital to businesses that are looking to grow and to help improve the economy.”

Related topics Legislation

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