Government seeks evidence for business rates review

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Government seeks evidence for business rates review Treasury

Related tags Treasury Business rates Government ukhospitality

The Government has launched a call for evidence as it prepares to conduct a 'fundamental review' of business rates.

In papers published earlier today (21 July) by the Treasury, the Government said it was 'keen to hear from businesses and business representative organisations, local authorities, ratings agents, others involved in the operation of the system and anyone interested in the business rates or wider tax system'.

The objectives of the review include reducing the overall burden on businesses; improving the current business rates system; and considering more fundamental changes in the medium-to-long-term.

Trade body UKHospitality welcomed the Government’s call, having consistently pushed for a comprehensive review of the business rates system.

“Securing a full review of the business rates system has been a priority for UKHospitality and its predecessor trade bodies for years," says UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls. 

"We identified it as the largest barrier to growth in our sector years ago. We have pushed extremely hard to convince the Government to act on this, so it is great to finally see positive action."

In the papers, the Government confirmed that the next revaluation of non-domestic property in England, previously scheduled for 1 April 2021, will now take effect on 1 April 2023.

It also said it recognises the need to reform the current duty system to support the pub sector in the longer term, and will publish a call for evidence before end September 2020.

“Kicking back the revaluation by a further year will give businesses some much-needed breathing room and stability," adds Nicholls.

"Pushing back should also provide time for reforms to be introduced and a more accurate reflection of property values following this crisis which has clearly had an enormous impact on trade.

“However, with rateable values therefore staying high for longer, the need for an extension of the business rates holiday is more acute.

"The holiday has been a hugely valuable lifeline for hospitality businesses and we need the Government to extend it for another year to give the sector the extra degree of flexibility it needs to get back on its feet. 

"Even though venues have begun to reopen, the immediate future is still uncertain. Businesses are going to need all the support they can get if they are to survive the winter.

“The acknowledgement that the current alcohol duty system needs reforming in order to support the sector is also a positive development. 

"UKHospitality has consistently advocated a new, more dynamic duty system which encourages innovation and consumption of alcohol in the safe and supervised environment of a pub, bar or restaurant. It has the potential to boost business.”

To contribute evidence for the review, click here​. 

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