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BCA joins with trade associations to blast “unjust” business rates proposals

The Business Centre Association has joined with trade associations including the British Property Federation, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Retail Consortium in writing to the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, to raise a number of concerns about proposed changes to the business rates appeal system.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has issued a consultation document that suggests the Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE) will only be able to order a change to business rates liabilities when it considers that they are inaccurate outside “the bounds of reasonable professional judgment”

The changes made by the consultation could result in businesses over-paying tax by 10% or more for several years. The government is also in the process of introducing the new “Check, Challenge, Appeal” business rates appeals system and a new rates revaluation is due in 2017.

Jennifer Brooke, BCA Executive Director, co-signed a joint letter sent to the Secretary of State, warning that the proposals will: 

  • Cause individual businesses to sink into hardship, pushing those already struggling into insolvency;
  • Undermine businesses’ confidence that their rates valuations are correct; one of the government’s main aims in reforming rates appeals;
  • Potentially lead to a host of legal challenges, particularly as to what constitutes “outside the bounds of reasonable professional judgment”; and
  • Prevent an independent organisation (the VTE) from correcting excessive tax assessments.

The letter points out that OECD studies show that the UK now has the highest level of property tax, measured as a proportion of GDP, of any major developed economy.

The BCA has written to all its members requesting that they contact DCLG and their local Member of Parliament, to outline their concern about the proposals.

Jennifer Brooke, executive director of the Business Centre Association, said: “The business centre sector is based on the principle of providing flexibility, which in turn facilitates the growth of micro-businesses, start-ups and growing companies – all of whom make a substantial contribution to local economies and communities. Such businesses lead in technological evolution making a significant contribution to UK Plc in real terms and through innovation and invention. An unfair tax, which could result in businesses over-paying by 10% or more for several years, risks reducing this flexibility and acts as a brake on the opportunities for the growth of small businesses across the country. This can only be detrimental for the economy as a whole.”

The Government consultation closes on 11th October, and BCA members or colleagues can contact the BCA to find out how they can help. 

 


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