Business rates refund failures

Experts have warned proposed legislation to modernise the business-rates system does not go far enough to protect independent retailers.

Although the discussion of business rates itself was absent from the Queen’s Speech made last week, the government confirmed a “non-domestic rating bill” would form part of the agenda during the next parliamentary session.

The bill, which will apply to England and Wales, will commit to a move to shorten the revaluation cycle from five years to three from next year and will be accompanied by new duties on ratepayers and “measures to support compliance”, in what it claims is a bid to improve valuation accuracy and timeliness.

Northern Ireland retailers welcome business rates relief announcement

The government has also pledged to provide relief on rates for a year where increases to rateable value occur due to improvements made to a property.

However, Colliers’ head of business rates John Webber accused the government of “missing a golden opportunity to bring about proper business rates reform”.

He added: “A three-yearly valuation is to be welcomed, although we would prefer to move to annual valuations so rates bills give a more accurate reflection of market values, but the new duties on rate payers will be burdensome, time-consuming and costly, as we have said since they were first announced together.”

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