The Conservatives have delivered on their promise to introduce the Enterprise Bill – a law that claims to reduce £10bn in red tape. But one thing is missing.

Where is th

e radi
cal reform of business rates?

The Enterprise Bill, published today but originally introduced by Sajid Javid in May this year, aims to help businesses grow and reaffirm the UK’s position in Europe as a desirable location to start a company.

While the Bill aims to help small businesses’ including new policies on a small business commissioner, simplified access to advice on regulation for franchisees or association members, and action on encouraging insurance companies to pay-up on time, there is little attention paid to one of the biggest cost for small businesses, business rates.

Javid’s Bill explains how it will reduce the repetitive information small businesses will have to provide to the Valuation Office Agency and local authorities, to create safer transfers of information.

Enterprise Bill Javid has repeatedly referred to the changes needed in the current business rates system and this is his offer.

It also claims “there is widespread agreement that the business rates appeals system is in need of reform”. To tackle this, a three stage dispute system has been proposed to ‘check, challenge, and appeal’ wrongfully given rates.

The aim is to ensure that future property valuations will be assessed accurately.

However, the Bill does not mention once how it will tackle the already high existing rates.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the Bill but said the Enterprise Bill should be focusing more on the almost unbearably high business rates.

“To make an impact, the Bill should focus on a number of ongoing challenges facing businesses and ensure economic growth is supported,” said John Allan, national chairman of the FSB.

“Those areas include reform of business rates, tackling the UK’s poor payment culture which sees too many of our members being paid beyond terms, lightening the burden of regulation.

Enterprise Bill Some retailers have warned that they will have to close up if business rates is not drastically dealt with.

Retailers have already been rejected in Javid’s red tape review list. In July, the business secretary revealed his first wave of reviews, but neglected to include retailers despite referring to small businesses as “Britain’s engine room”.

But the ACS are reminding retailers that the full review of business rates will be disclosed by the Budget 2016, as the consultation period closed in June this year.

“Plans set out in the Enterprise Bill to allow retailers to ensure that their property’s rating assessment is accurate and up to date are helpful, and will mean that fewer retailers will have to take their rating valuations through a full appeals process,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.

“We are still awaiting the results of the Government’s wider review of business rates, which we hope will introduce a fairer system of rating for all local shops.”