Rates Revaluation Postponement Signals Death Knell for High Street
Leading property consultancy Gerald Eve has slammed the Government for condemning firms to two further years of over-the-odds business rates charges following its decision, announced today, to postpone the 2015 business rates revaluation in England until 2017.
Following the Government’s announcement, businesses will continue to pay rates based on property rents in April 2008 – a time when values were at their absolute peak – for two extra years. With property values now much lower than during 2008, retailers and other businesses were looking towards the 2015 revaluation to bring some much-needed relief from spiralling rates charges, an opportunity that has now been taken away from them.
Commenting on the Government’s announcement, Jerry Schurder, head of rating at Gerald Eve, said: “This is awful news for retailers especially and It is preposterous to claim that this provides any real benefit to businesses. Business rates are already far too high and are a cause of hardship and vacancies in the high street, because bills are based upon pre-recession rents. Businesses have already waited too long for the rating system to adjust to the state of the economy and to make them wait a further two years will cause much further hardship.
“The Government claims that the decision will remove uncertainty and assist future budgeting but, frankly, given the choice businesses would far prefer the early prospect of lower bills even if they could not predict the precise amount. This is a perverse decision which will not achieve the claimed benefits and should be strongly opposed.”