Trade bodies welcome Government’s evidence call for business rates review

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

State calls: the Government has called for evidence into a business rates review
State calls: the Government has called for evidence into a business rates review

Related tags: Property law, Legislation, Business rates

Industry associations have hailed the Government’s decision to call for evidence for a business rates review by the end of September.

The Government has also confirmed the next revaluation of non-domestic property in England, previously scheduled for 1 April 2021, has been pushed back by two years and will now take effect on 1 April 2023.

UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Securing a full review of the business rates system has been a priority for UKH and its predecessor trade bodies for years.

“We identified it as the largest barrier to growth in our sector years ago. We have pushed extremely hard to convince the Government to act on this so it is great to finally see positive action.

“Kicking back the revaluation by a further year will give businesses some much-needed breathing room and stability."

Enormous impact

Nicholls added: “Pushing back should also provide time for reforms to be introduced and a more accurate reflection of property values following this crisis, which has clearly had an enormous impact on trade.”

The British Beer & Pub Association said it will be responding to the review to highlight the case of a business rates system that cuts the tax burden for pubs as they recover from the coronavirus lockdown.

Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “We warmly welcome the announcement of a business rates review. Pubs pay 2.8% of the entire business rates bill, despite accounting for just 0.5% of business turnover so reform of the system has long been overdue.

The British Institute of Innkeeping CEO Steven Alton highlighted how the association’s members were operating on tight margins even before the closure period.

Sustainable businesses

Alton added: “Now they are reopening their doors, they will need more support than ever before to ensure they have sustainable businesses going forward.

“Pubs can contribute massively to the recovery of our economy, providing local employment and also vital support and social value in their communities.

“Therefore, a continuation of the business rates holiday to April 2022 is essential to ensure businesses survive for long enough to achieve their full potential across all these areas.”

Campaign for Real Ale national chairman Nik Antona said the current business rates system penalises pubs and fails to recognise their valuable role as community hubs, which are vital in tackling loneliness and social isolation.

He added: “The pub sector currently overpays in business rates by £500m a year and rising rates are forcing hardworking publicans to push up prices for consumers or close their doors forever. The Government must make the business rates system fairer for pubs to ensure their continued survival.”

Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) hoped the review will lead to a radical and wholesale change in the way pubs and breweries pay.

Chief executive James Calder said: “Under the current business rates system, per pint, a small brewer can pay a business rates ten times that of a global mega brewer and that has to change.”

Related topics: Property law

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