UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has announced that businesses will have their business rates changed again in 2021.
The announcement came as part of the Government’s spring statement and sees the rates revaluation moved forward by one year. From 2021 onwards, business rates will be revaluated every three years.
“We are the champions of small businesses and the entrepreneur,” claimed Hammond.
However, not all business rates experts agreed. Colliers International’s head of business rates John Webber described the changes as “like putting a plaster on a gunshot wound.”
Highlighting a further 3% rates increase for 2018-19 and the soon-to-be issued rates bills for 2017-18, Webber added: "It does nothing to help those businesses, particularly the retailers who are struggling with the system today."
Altus Group president of business rates Alex Probyn said three year cycles would reduce the number of businesses affected by large changes in rateable values, but said there could be other consequences. “There is an inevitable increase in costs in revaluing more frequently. Government has stated that any changes must be revenue neutral and this appears to mean that those extra costs will be passed to the ratepayer,” he warned.
ACS CEO James Lowman welcomed the revaluation changes but called for changes to how store investments such as CCTV and cash machines are rated. He said: “We need a business rates system that incentivises investment instead of discouraging it.”
Referencing cash machine network operator Link and its plans to cut the number of cash machines in the UK, Hammond said he was seeking advice on: “how to encourage cashless and digital payments, while ensuring cash remains available to those who need it.”
On plastic waste the Chancellor of the Exchequer called for evidence on how to tackle the problem, he said this would include looking at “The whole supply chain” – including retailers and wholesalers.
A separate document by the Treasury on using tax to curb environmental damage caused by plastic referenced research currently underway on bottle return schemes and a new tax on single use plastics. Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK said both of these options were “concrete steps” and called on the Government take early action. “they should get on with it,” she said.