Chancellor George Osborne today announced in his Autumn Statement that there would be a “full review of the structure of business rates”. However, the outcome is expected to be fiscally neutral, meaning that that the total sum collected from business rates will not change. Howard Elliott of BDT’s rating department said “As long as the Chancellor remains wedded to fiscally neutral reform, there is a limited range of options for change, particularly when the 2017 rates revaluation is already underway”.
The Treasury Statement following the Chancellor’s speech has also confirmed that the Government will change the rules so that alterations to RV’s can only be backdated to the period between 1 April 2010 and 1 April 2015 for Valuation Office Agency alterations made before 1 April 2016 and ratepayer’s appeals before 1 April 2015.
Howard says “This effectively give us three months within which to make compiled list appeals which will enable us fully to backdate any reduction and refund. If you have not yet appealed against your RV, now is a really good time to review your strategy in this regard.”
The Government are also extending their Transitional Arrangements via a discretionary relief for properties with a rateable value of £50,000 and below facing significant bill increases due to the ending of the Transitional Rate Relief from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2017.
The Chancellor also announced that the discount for retailers with properties that have a rateable value of less than £50,000 will be increased by £500 to £1,500 next year. This rise will bring the total relief on business rates to £1bn and help approximately 500,000 companies.
The PR says that the cap on the increase in the Business Rates Multiplier “will remain pegged at 2%”. But we know different – see below:
Lower UBR = 48.0p
Upper UBR = 49.3p (increase 2.28%)
(Supplement = 1.3p – up 18%!)
The Chancellor also announced that business rates would be fully devolved in Wales.
The review of the structure of business rates is to report by Budget 2016, the Government is due to publish its terms of reference in due course. This of course pushes this out until after the General Election.
3rd December 2014