Account Director, Oliver Deed gives a rundown on Business Rates as 2015 draws to a close.
At Snapdragon, we’ve had a busy year and Business Rates has been one of the issues keeping us busy, with many clients taking a keen interest in the progress of reform.
2015 has been something of a mixed year.
This was the year the five-year Business Rates revaluation was supposed to take place. This has been postponed until 2017.
This was the year we were supposed to see fundamental reform to the Business Rates system. This was postponed until 2016 whilst consultation continues.
However, the Government did escalate the process of devolving Business Rates proceeds to local authorities, whilst also abolishing the Uniform Business Rate (UBR). Local Authorities will now have the autonomy to reduce their Business Rates, and some power to increase them if the authority operates under a Mayoral system.
So, if you’re a follower of Business Rates policy how do you feel? I’d guess you are frustrated with the lack of progress made on fundamental reform.
Every Government since the year dot, seems to have ducked the issue of reform, and this Government is no different. What we already know is the Government is committed to delivering a “fiscally neutral” package of reform, meaning Britain’s unusually high commercial property tax rates will remain.
But beyond that, Treasury, DCLG and other Government departments continue to debate what the review might contain, and commercial property owners wait with bated breath to see what the outcome might be.
2016 could be a watershed year for Business Rates reform, in spite of history telling us delay is the most likely outcome. Let’s hope 2016 could is the year the sceptics are confounded and reform is finally delivered.
What’s for sure is the issue will continue to keep us busy!
If you require more information contact Oliver Deed on 0203 176 4161.