'Wrongly banded' publican urges licensees to check their rateable value

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

'Utterly unjustified': Philip Eades claims he still has to go through the 'check, challenge, appeal' system
'Utterly unjustified': Philip Eades claims he still has to go through the 'check, challenge, appeal' system

Related tags Rateable value Appeal Business rates in england and wales Voa

A publican whose business rates have almost doubled has claimed that despite being told by a Valuation Office Agency (VOA) officer he has been ‘wrongly banded’, he will still have to go through the highly criticised 'check, challenge, appeal' system.

Philip Eades, licensee of the Globe, Swanage, Dorset, said he was “stunned” when his pub’s rateable value increased from £11,750 to £21,000 in March. Especially as, according to Eades, his two nearest competitor pubs – which are of a “similar size, construction and trade” – are rated under £12,000, so do not need to pay business rates. 

“We should be paying zero alongside our two competitor pubs,” Eades told The Morning Advertiser​.

“This is berserk, it doesn't make any sense. The whole thing is just utterly unfair.”

Wrongly banded

Eades said he finally got through to the VOA office after “nagging and nagging people” to see why his rateable value was so different to his neighbours.

“I got to speak to a licensed property valuer of the VOA in Plymouth, and he confirmed to me that we are wrongly banded – and indeed have been so since the 2010 list,” he said.

Eades has said he was been told to go through the check challenge appeal system, which has been highly criticised in the past​ by industry experts since its implementation.

'Designed to be difficult'

“The first stage of this will take three months,” continued Eades. “The challenge element has an unlimited period of time, so we have no idea how long that will take, and an appeal will cost £300 minimum.

“It seems to me the VOA is designed to make it as difficult as possible for people to appeal their evaluation, and when it is wrong, and ours is quite blatantly wrong, that is utterly unfair.”

“Effectively, over the five-year period of this rateable scheme, we are going to pay £40,000 rates, and our nearest competitors are paying zero. And that is, frankly, ludicrous.”

Time to get it sorted

Eades said he wanted his situation to be used as “an example” for other publicans to go and check they have the correct rateable value.

“If it's the case in Swanage, it must be the case in every other town as well. There must be other people who are wrongly banded," he said.

“What I want is the VOA to be embarrassed and get it sorted for publicans.

“It's going to make things very difficult for us, we are a small business, we have a couple of staff along with my wife and myself, and to have to pay £8,000 a year of business rates – it is utterly unjustified.”

Those who 'most need it'

Commenting on Eades' claims, a spokesman for the VOA office said: “We cannot comment on individual cases. We are able to make amends to valuations in the 2010 rating lists, when we become aware of an inaccuracy, until 31 March 2018 – although they will only be amended from 1 April 2015 in England.

“The new system allows businesses to get their issues on 2017 valuations handled at the right stage, reserving the appeal route for those that most need it, and saving them time and effort.

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