John Truslove welcomes action on business rates

Redditch-based property consultants John Truslove have welcomed the Budget’s £435 million business rates relief package.

But they have urged the Government to tread carefully on possible wider reform.

John Truslove director Ian Parker commented: “A considered approach is required – we don’t want knee-jerk reactions.”

Business rates rise on 1 April, the first jump in nearly ten years.

London and the South-east, after its property price explosion, is bearing the brunt, producing an outpouring of angst in recent weeks.

All other UK regions see a reduction, though, within that wider picture, there are equally businesses facing large rises in their rates bill.

The Chancellor announced help for businesses coming out of small business rates relief so none would pay more than £600 more in business rates this year than they did in 2016-17. Funding for local authorities will allow them to provide £300 million of discretionary relief to provide help to businesses most affected by the revaluation.

And from April 2017, pubs with a rateable value up to £100,000 will be able to claim a £1,000 business rates discount for one year.

The Chancellor agreed there was scope to reform the revaluation process to avoid the dramatic increases that the present system can deliver. He promised to set out the Government’s preferred approach in due course and would consult on it before the next revaluation is due.

Mr Parker said: “The Chancellor has accepted that more needs to be done to mitigate the shock.

“While the South-east is by far the worst affected, we have seen some examples of very significant rises in the Redditch/Bromsgrove area albeit the Midlands as a whole is one of the beneficiaries. So, it is understandable the Government should wish to step in and we very much welcome that.

“However, arguably, the Midlands has for too long been bearing an over-arching business rates burden. Given the last revaluation was postponed for two years, so went seven years unchanged, it is unsurprising that the new charges should prove so stark.

“A fair system for all is vital. This is not about the Midlands versus the South. But valuations need to keep up with the advance in property prices.

“We need a business rates platform which is robust, clear to all and moves with changes in economic prosperity. Then everyone knows where they stand and can plan ahead.”

He added: “The politicians need to be brave and not allow themselves to be swayed by the loudest voices every time there is a perceived crisis in the world of business rates.

“It is right that in the current circumstances the Chancellor has taken steps to remove the worst of the pain. But we need to get to a point where such packages are unnecessary.

“The Government has acknowledged that, with underlying concerns about things like globalisation, international tax structures and the struggle between the high street and the virtual world, there is room for improvement, and we would agree. We are living through unprecedented times. They have promised all possible steps for making business rates fairer and more sustainable. We trust they will deliver.”

For some time, John Truslove has been offering all local businesses in the Bromsgrove, Redditch, Droitwich and Alcester area a free survey – accurately analysing their property to ensure it is assessed correctly.

The firm has made huge numbers of successful business rates appeals since beginning trading in 1981, saving clients hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds.

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