The General Election could lead to long-term improvements of the business rates system but cause delays to appeals already lodged by retailers, a rating expert has said.

Damien Clarke, a director at property agency Colliers International, said the new Check, Challenge, Appeal system to dispute rates, which puts more pressure on business owners to provide proof of errors, could come under review as the government will lose focus on everyday processes at the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in the run-up to the election.

“I’d like to think it will give us more time to engage with the VOA and for our concerns to be listened to,” he said.

“The difficulty for retailers who may be paying higher rates than they should be is the VOA won’t be empowered to address those issues in a timely fashion.”

Bill Esterson, shadow minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, said business rates should be a key election issue.

“We are calling for a complete overhaul of the business rates system and an end to double rating because of equipment like cashpoints,” he said.