Business rates changes ‘nothing to be afraid of'

21 February 2017 by
Business rates changes ‘nothing to be afraid of'

Government ministers have told Tory colleagues that the changes to business rates are "nothing to be afraid of" amid disquiet among businesses in Conservative heartlands.

A planned revaluation of business rates, which takes effect in April, is expected to see rates rise for one in four businesses.

However, despite protests from businesses, including the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) calling the changes "unfair and unworkable" and warning that businesses are not prepared, chancellor Philip Hammond has not yet reviewed the transitional relief provisions.

So far, a call for the introduction of sector specific hospitality retail relief from the ALMR has not been acted upon.

Sky News reported that many of the areas which will be hardest hit by the increases in business rates will be in Conservative heartlands, with rates in prime minister Theresa May's Maidenhead constituency expected to increase by 10% on average. In Hammond's seat of Runnymede, businesses are preparing for rises of about 13%.

It has also been argued that the changes hit high street businesses unfairly while internet businesses with out of town warehouses will continue to enjoy low rates.

The Government insists that 73% of businesses will see a freeze or a fall in rates following the revaluation, and that 600,000 companies will pay nothing at all.

In a private letter to Tory colleagues, reported by Sky News, communities secretary Sajid Javid and treasury chief secretary David Gauke said there had been "a relentless campaign of distortions and half-truths" about the revaluation.

They insisted the changes were "nothing to be afraid of" as 2017-18 is going to see "the biggest ever cut in business rates".

They added: "This year's revaluation has been preceded by a series of reports claiming that rates are going to soar, that appeals are being banned and that hundreds of thousands of businesses will be forced to close. Such claims are simply untrue."

Proposed changes to business rates ‘unfair and unworkable', says ALMR >>

Pubs and restaurants ‘not prepared' for business rates changes >>

Business as usual? How will the change in business rates affect you? >>

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