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CPA's Concerns Re: Birmingham City Council's Financial Situation and its Impact on Business Rates

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

At CPA, our commitment has always been to deliver unparalleled business rates advice and mitigation. Drawing from our deep-rooted experience, we've adeptly navigated numerous businesses, especially within the logistics and industry sector, through the intricacies of business rates.

Given our unwavering commitment to the business community, the recent financial situation at Birmingham City Council has raised significant alarms for us. The issuance of the Section 114 notice and the subsequent Financial Recovery Plan have not only highlighted the Council's financial challenges but also hinted at potential implications for business rates and the broader business community in the Birmingham area.

Why This Matters to You

1. Potential Rate Increases: One of the primary concerns arising from the Council's financial challenges is the potential for an increase in business rates. With the Council's projected deficit for the 2023/24 financial year standing at a staggering £87m, there's a looming possibility that businesses might face higher rates to compensate for these budget shortfalls. In fact, due to the revaluation, various businesses have already faced extra financial challenges caused by an average increase of 11% in business rates.

2. Uncertainty for Businesses: The current financial situation creates an atmosphere of uncertainty. Businesses thrive on predictability. Any sudden changes in business rates or other financial policies can disrupt operations, planning, and growth. As we've observed, "Businesses in the retail sector are particularly sensitive to such fluctuations, given the tight margins and competitive landscape."

3. Impact on Local Economy: A thriving local business community is essential for a robust local economy. Any adverse changes to business rates or financial policies can deter new businesses from setting up in Birmingham and may even push existing businesses to consider relocation. Historically, significant increases in business rates have been linked to reduced business growth and investment in affected areas, underscoring the importance of maintaining a balanced approach to local taxation.

The Council's Need for Revenue

The financial challenges faced by Birmingham City Council underscore a pressing need to increase revenue. One of the most direct ways for local councils to achieve this is through business rates and the council tax. Given the current situation, it's highly plausible that the Council might view business rates as a primary source of additional revenue.

A potential strategy the Council might employ is decreasing the amount of issued discretionary business rates reliefs. By reducing these reliefs, the Council can effectively increase the amount of revenue they collect from businesses. This approach, while beneficial for the Council's treasury, can place an additional financial burden on businesses that previously benefited from these reliefs.

However, it's crucial for businesses to understand that while discretionary reliefs might be reduced, this does not imply that the reduction of Rateable Value caused by the Check Challenge Appeal process will be affected. The Check Challenge Appeal remains a separate mechanism for businesses to ensure their rateable values are accurate and fair. At CPA, we are committed to guiding businesses through this process, ensuring they are not overburdened by unjust rateable values.

Our Stance and How We Can Help

At CPA, we firmly believe that "business rates reliefs are not just a financial tool, but a strategic move to ensure the long-term economic health of the community." We are committed to advocating for fair and equitable business rates that support the growth and sustainability of businesses.

If you're concerned about how the Council's financial situation might impact your business rates, we're here to help. Our team of experts will provide tailored advice, ensuring that you're not only informed but also prepared for any potential changes. We'll work closely with you to navigate any challenges and ensure that your business continues to thrive.

In these uncertain times, having a trusted partner like CPA by your side can make all the difference. Reach out to us today, and let's champion your business rates interests together.

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