Jerry Schurder from Gerald Eve LLP
At Wednesday's eagerly anticipated Spring Budget the Chancellor once again preferred to opt for short term business rates measures over long term reform. Given the unprecedented media coverage in recent weeks, including acceptance from the Prime Minister that the tax requires review, the Chancellor showed a distinct lack of ambition in his announcements.
As we detail in our latest Business Rates Update, three new measures were announced, designed to reduce bills for pubs and small businesses by £435m. Whilst this is welcome news it is disappointing to learn that the longer term systemic issues have been ignored. The Chancellor was expected to announce a wider review of business rates yesterday but chose once again to kick the issue into the long grass, despite the outcry from businesses.
In what amounts to a double blow, shortly after the Spring Budget was concluded, the DCLG announced its overdue response to last July's consultation on appeals reform. Despite overwhelming business objection to Government's proposals and in particular to the manifestly unjust provision that future assessments will not be reduced on appeal unless the original valuation is shown to be 'outside the bounds of reasonable professional judgement', the Government will be proceeding with their proposals albeit with a modest tweak that assessments will not be reduced if they are considered to be 'reasonable'.
We've summarised these key points in our latest video blog and provided a detailed commentary in our Business Rates Update. We are hugely disappointed with the Government's overall approach - our role remains to achieve the lowest possible rates liability for our clients, whilst removing the administrative burden the system continues to impose.
Should you wish to discuss any of the issues raised or find out how we can help please get in touch with me or you usual Gerald Eve contact.
Gerald Eve's Business Rates Update is a short summary and is not intended to be definitive advice. No responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage caused by any reliance on it. © All rights reserved.