May 6, 2020
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UK government postpones business rates revaluation

May 6, 2020

The UK government has postponed a revaluation of business rates planned for next year as it aims to help companies struggling to survive in the coronavirus shutdown.

Business rates are a crushing burden on many shops - Intu

“We have listened to businesses and their concerns about the timing of the 2021 business rates revaluation and have acted to end that uncertainty by postponing the change,” Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said.

The move was welcomed as a sensible one, but observers also said it’s important to go further than just delaying the inevitable. The revaluation of the property tax paid by businesses should still happen in 2022 and unless the government starts to think differently, it will remain a crushing burden on stores.

John Webber Head of Business Rates at real estate specialist Colliers International said: “This is a sensible decision and something [for which] we have been calling for some time. The potential detrimental impact upon businesses to have a revaluation during the Covid-19 period, giving uncertainty to their liability, along with the question of the state of the market on 1 April 2021, felt far too risky.”

He said that the government needs to accept that its tax take from business rates should be lower – reducing it from the £26 billion currently taken a year to around £20 billion.

Business rates have been blamed for being behind the failure of a number of businesses, including department store chain Beales. It paid over £1 million more than it should have done in business rates because of the complex way in which they’re calculated.

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