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's been another eventful week for the business rates industry. As further information is uncovered regarding councils' handling of business rates in the past.
The journal betterRetailing.com reports serious lapses by English councils when offering correct and up to date information relating to business rates relief.
In December 2021, BetterRetailing uncovered 22 out of 333 councils in England listed incorrect dates and figures for current rates relief. Since being alerted to this, only half have updated their guidance.
Worse still, in Northern Ireland, three of the 11 councils offered no information at all regarding rates!
As well as this, two-thirds of councils are still yet to pay out from the Covid Additional Relief Fund (CARF). That's just 113 councils so far. 46 also haven't provided an indication of the size of the pay-outs that applicable businesses will be entitled to.
We fully appreciate the difficulties under which councils operate, along with the Valuation Office Agency, a fact acknowledged by Rishi Sunak in his Spring Statement offering extra funding for the VOA to cope with the pressures of correct rating and the imminent new rating list.
But we can't have sympathy for councils that fail even to reply to journalists' questions on rates, since this chimes with the status quo of never being the first to announce means by which businesses can reduce their rates burden. Rather, it is always down to the individual firm, to make a successful challenge.
In the heated atmosphere of check, challenge and appeal, CPA offers a worry-free service, employing experienced RICS-regulated surveyors and its own sophisticated databases, to produce solidly evidence-based reports, which are increasingly a feature of successful applications to the billing authorities.
For further advice and help, contact CPA for a free consultation.