Reaction to business rates shake-up

A shake-up of the business rates system will create “winners and losers”, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has admitted.

The Government is starting to outline details of changes in the rules which are to be introduced following repeated calls from trade bodies to overhaul the existing regime.

A new rating mechanism for England and Wales will be implemented in April next year, the first such change since 2010.

Speaking last week, Local Government Minister Marcus Jones claimed that three quarters of companies would see no change or even experience a fall in their bills.

There are concerns, however, that the effects of the new system will vary greatly in different regions of the UK and businesses who occupy “prime city centre” sites will be among those hit with a steep increase.

The Government had previously announced a £3.4billion transitional relief scheme to help these companies deal with the increase in their bills, although there are concerns that this initiative will not be as generous for some firms as previously hoped.

There have also been calls from some officials at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) for more regular revaluations – perhaps every three years – following concern that the process was put off for far too long on this occasion.

A consultation into business rates changes will run until October 26th.

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