In response to the Government and DCLG’s consultation on the proposed £300m Business Rates relief fund, CDG have made representations. This relates to business occupiers facing hardship as a result of the Revaluation and increases in rateable values from 1st April 2017.
We fully support and welcome the £300m relief fund for business occupiers facing hardship because of the revaluation. However, we are concerned that it falls way short of what is needed and is too centrally defined/capped. Relief should target those experiencing hardship where their ability to trade has been severely affected due to the cost of business rates. This should be regardless of Rateable Value size (currently proposed less than £200,000) since otherwise those with larger RV’s, which could include significant employers and companies requiring support have no access to any relief fund.
Also, it should not be limited to those facing an increase in their bills following revaluation. Business rates are a significant overhead and one that can affect the viability of a business. Relief should be available where there are legitimate business reasons why relief would ensure the viability of that business.
CDG’s alternative proposals are that:
- All ratepayers should have access to Business Rates Relief regardless of size. The current proposals ignore the largest ratepayers. The larger ratepayers contribute the largest amounts in rates payable and should be listened to and have access to relief where they are experiencing hardship.
- The Business Rates Relief fund should be split to Local Authorities as per the total amount of Rateable Value within individual Local Authorities and all ratepayers should have access to the fund.
- The fund could be subject to a call in say the first half of the rating year and an allocation in the second half of the rating year, with this rolling through the Rating List and not limited to 4 years of the list.
- If individual Local Authorities have surplus funds in a rating year, these to be redistributed to other Local Authorities within the rating year.
- An alternative is to cap 2017 list increases across the board to those areas particularly hit by increases ie London and the South. Present Transitional Relief arrangements are wholly inadequate and more punitive than in previous Rating Lists. Either a relief fund or cap should cover this or Transitional Arrangements need fully adjusting.
- Ratepayers facing hardship because of the 2017 Revaluation extend across small, medium and large businesses with the latter being significant employers and contributors to rates revenues. As the proposals currently stand, only those with smaller RV’s and increases can access the fund and significant rates contributors are inequitably not allowed access to a fund which should be seeking to address hardship and business viability regardless of size or increase in rates payable.
If you would like to discuss or seek advice regarding business rates or any hardship/relief, feel free to have a chat with our Landlord & Tenant specialist David Ford on 0207 100 5520 or firstname.lastname@example.org