Ashleigh Phillips, from the Plymouth office of Bruton Knowles, says it is vital that businesses respond to a Government discussion paper that has just been issued so that the right reforms are introduced when the Government carries out a promised “root and branch” review of the system.
People have until June 6 to make their views known on the rating system and respond to the discussion paper “Administration of business rates in England”.
Said Ashleigh Phillips: “There is no doubt that changes are needed and we will be collating responses from businesses in the area that have been affected by the current faults in the rating appeals system.
“We will be lobbying for a faster appeals process with more frequent revaluations. If tax is to be based on property values it is logical that these values should be rebased as often as possible. We need a fair system that reflects both rental trends and business viability.
“The recession sparked real political pressure on the Government and the publication of this discussion document is a step forward that admits business rates are a significant cost for business and that the current system may not be fit for purpose any more.
“Successive Governments have favoured have favoured property taxes as they are relatively easy to collect and the tax yield is predictable. But the adverse impact on ratepayers of the current slow, adversarial mechanism for appealing rateable values, the administration of temporary reliefs and the burdensome empty property rates has been amplified during the recession.”
A team from across the Treasury, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Valuation Office Agency will consider written submissions and research provided by respondents to the discussion paper.
The origins of the current business rates system can be traced back over 400 years. It is one of the main ways that local Government is financed, so is vital for local services. It is also a major cost to businesses, who have called for a lower tax burden to enable them to compete domestically and on the world stage.