Business rates system – what can small businesses do now?
Despite widespread recognition that the business rates system is not fit for purpose, they remain a severe burden on independent retailers.
The Government’s decision to grant 33% rates relief in 2019/2020, and 50% relief in 2020/2021 in England for shops with a rateable value of less than £51,000 was a step in the right direction.
But, under current proposals, there will be a revaluation in April 2021 with new rateable values lasting for a further four years.
The current system of business rates across England has failed retailers and there is an obvious and urgent need for a complete review.
It is grossly unfair that independent retailers will continue to face large rates bills when online competition often pays little or nothing, and it’s essential that the voice of the high street is heard. The Government must act now to safeguard the future of our retail localities.
What can I do now?
At a time when most retailers will be receiving their 2020/2021 demand notes, Bira is continuing to fight for business rates reform – but with your support the case will be made even stronger.
We have created a template email which can be sent to MPs before next week’s Budget to raise awareness and to ensure that business rates reform remains a Government priority. Simply find your local MP’s and their contact details then click the button below to download the template letter and send to your local MP before Wednesday 11th March by email or post.
What are the current opportunities to reduce rates bills?
Although the rating system may appear complex, there are still opportunities to reduce rates bills:
- If the rateable value of a shop looks high in comparison to its letting value
- If part is unused or unoccupied
- If there have been changes in the local vicinity such as street works or redevelopment (be aware that in these cases action must be taken at the start of the work or scheme).
Bira offers a business rates service to help members challenge their rateable values or initiate the appeal procedure. The service also offers free and confidential advice about all aspects of the business rate system. Click here to find out more.
Bira works in partnership with Mark Radford to support our members through the business rates appeal process.
Find out more