Last week, businesses in England and Wales got the news they have been patiently awaiting for seven years.
On the 30 September, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) published the revaluation details of nearly two million non-domestic properties in the draft 2017 rating list.
So was is worth the wait? Well, that depends.
On first inspection of the list, there would appear to be a north/south divide in terms of percentage increases, while in the Midlands its very much a mixed bag.
Across England, rateable values are expected to rise by an average of around
nine per cent, ranging from a 22.8 per cent increase in London to a 1.1 per cent fall in the north east. In Wales, overall figures show a 2.9 per cent cut in rateabale values.
Given that for the past seven years business rates have been based on property values in 2008, many businesses across the country will benefit from some relief as a result of years of overpayment, while others will see their rates stay at the same level.
Companies can check their draft rateable value online to see if they face an increase or cut in their rates bill by using the calculator tool on the VOA website.
Unfortunately, businesses in central London look set to bear the brunt of the rates revaluation. Retailers on Regent Street, home to some of the world’s most iconic fashion brands, face an eye watering 87 per cent increase in their business rates bill.
Consumers could also lose out come April next year, when the new business rates come into effect. Telecoms provider BT has calculated that its rates bill will rocket from £165m to £743m, prompting potential price hikes to its telephone and broadband prices.
In a statement, BT said: “It is highly likely that an increase of this size would lead to higher prices for consumers and businesses.”
The telecoms giant also warned that the proposed news rates “could have a negative impact on future investment in the network.”
It will be of little consolation to those businesses facing huge tax hikes, but the Government has revealed plans to soften the blow by limiting the increase in the first year to 45 per cent.
As always, where taxes are concerned there will always be winners and losers. It’s just a shame that under the current system of evaluating business rates, the only winner appears to be the Government.