The British Property Federation (BPF) has criticised the government’s decision to postpone the business rates revaluation until 2017. Chief executive Liz Peace describes the postponement as a ‘shot in the foot’ for retailers and as embedding injustices in the current system.
The announcement to delay the revaluation was announced yesterday by the Department for Communities and Local Government which claims the decision will provide tax stability.
The communication states; “Business rates are the third biggest outgoing for local firms after rent and staff costs. This decision will avoid local firms and local shops facing unexpected hikes in their business rates over the next five years. This reform will provide certainty for businesses to plan and invest, supporting local economic growth.”
But the BPF argues that the government should be revaluing more frequently, not less, so that businesses are paying rates that reflect the current circumstances.
“A revaluation should shift the burden from those who are suffering to those who are prospering. By postponing the government is not allowing the downward adjustment that would otherwise take place for suffering retailers,” Liz Peace said.
Head of Rating at Gerald Eve, Jerry Scruder, agrees. He says its ‘preposterous’ to claim the postponement will benefit businesses who would much rather see the lower rates that would result from an earlier revaluation.
“This is a perverse decision which will not achieve the claimed benefits and should be strongly opposed,” he said.