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Property chiefs call for business rate overhaul

A new report from the property industry has called for an overhaul in business rates, and for around one million small firms to be exempted completely from the tax.
The British Property Federation will publish the proposal in the upcoming weeks, and will call for a change to the current process in which annual business rates are reviewed every five years (except for larger companies, where they are reviewed once a year).
The federation has claimed that an overhaul could significantly benefit small property-based firms as well as retailers.
Chief Executive Liz Peace said:
‘It is crucial that business rates are allowed to rise and fall in line with economic conditions.  More frequent revaluations would make the system fairer and more responsive.’
‘Removing small businesses from rates entirely would free up time and resources to allow annual revaluations, and would support small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs’.
The BPF has already estimated that by the time of next year’s general election, business rates will have increased by around 25 per cent since 2010.  Mary Portas, considered the high street ‘Tzar’ by the government has already supported the call for a number of firms to be exempt.
‘If rates continue to rise unchecked this will have big implications for the future and will have a big impact on how our towns and cities will look in ten or 20 years’ time. The rates in many towns and cities are now excessive and in many cases more than the rent. In some cases this can make it impossible to invest in redevelopment and construction, particularly in struggling areas outside London.’ Miss Peace concluded.

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