Govt tipped to introduce rates rise cap
The Chancellor has listened to intensive lobbying from business groups who have demanded respite from the planned £1.1bn increase in business rate tax planned for next April, according to the Sunday Times.
The business rate rise is currently pegged to September's retail price index of inflation (at 3.9%%), but senior sources are saying Chancellor Phillip Hammond is poised to use the lower consumer price index which stands at 3%.
John Webber of Colliers International said, "We have been campaigning for the Chancellor to use CPI rather than RPI when calculating business rate rises for some time- and whilst we welcome the move ( if it happens), if they had moved to CPI last year instead of delaying until 2020, then these so called "giveaways" would be unnecessary. It would also make it easier for businesses to plan budgets for future years.
"But this is still tinkering at the edges. We still have a business rates system that needs a proper reform, including a move to more frequent valuations. In particular the new Check Challenge Appeal System has been disasterous, with businesses finding it virtually impossible to navigate around the new system to appeal against unfair business rates. This still smells of re-organising the deckchairs on a High Street called Titanic!"
Tom Ironside, Business & Regulation Policy Director at the BRC, said: If this report is true it would be a step forward. Without decisive action from the Chancellor in his upcoming Budget then retailers face a stark £270 million leap in their rates bill from April. This would have consequences for retailers investment plans, especially for investment in new or refurbished stores in town centres and in less economically viable locations.