Peter Foley is our resident guru here at CPA and has been passionately following the shifting world of business rates for many years. With a keen political insight, Peter’s writing reveals how policy change is key to understanding your business rates further, and how this could translate into substantial savings. In his weekly column, Peter also outlines a desired path forward, with changes we’d like to see implemented for a fairer system on the nation's business rates.
It is pleasing to read that roughly three-quarters of Britain's 368 local authorities report that in-person sales are significantly higher than in the previous two years. On average, spending in January 2022, was 4% higher than in 2020. However, there is absolutely no room for complacency, as the same period has also witnessed a marked rise in online transactions. Additionally, shoppers are not the only element returning to the high street: business rates bills are also coming back, without generous government relief. And people are shopping nearer to home, meaning that some towns and cities with retailing concentrated in the centre, are experiencing a hollowing-out, "doughnut" effect. Whether these changes are permanent or not, now is a perfect moment to try to reduce a firm's business rates, which remain stubbornly high, due to their link to property rather than turnover. With nothing to lose, and all fees related to savings achieved for the client, Commercial Property Advisors (CPA) urges all businesses, whether on the high street or an industrial estate, retailing or industrial, to seriously consider CPA's free services, including a free friendly consultation, followed where appropriate, by a detailed and professionally-presented survey-based report to the billing authority. The clock is ticking for appeals to be made, before the March 2023 rating list. And appeals are particularly urgent, with five years of rebates at stake. Taking rating matters in hand is a far more realistic prospect of achieving savings than hoping for radical reform of UK business rates, and an extension of Treasury generosity.