Surveyors call upon retailers to appeal to their MPs about business rates16-Jul-2017
The Rating Surveyors Association has urged retailers to complain to their local MPs about the ”onerous” and “unworkable” appeal process. The new appeal system for rates bills came into force on 1 April 2017. Top Drawer Academy reported about the three-stage system at the time.
However, now rate surveyors seem to have lost patience with the system and are reverting to a strategy of political lobbying. The Ratings Surveyors Association has sent out template letters for retailers to fill in and send to their local MP. Their main gripe is with the complicated online system and the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) portal, which the group referred to as “a car crash”.
In another move, the government confirmed its commitment to base business rates calculations on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate from 2020, after widespread speculation that it had scrapped plans to switch from the Retail Price Index (RPI) currently used. In a statement on Saturday, 15th July, the Treasure confirmed: “We are committed to switching business rates indexation from RPI to CPI from 2020 and will introduce legislation in due course.” It added that the switch would save businesses £1 billion in the first three years, with retail saving £250 million alone.
The plans to switch were announced in the 2016 budget but came under doubt after the Tories lost their majority in June. Many experts speculated that the government would scrap the plans in favour of investing into fledgeling public services. The switch will be good news for retailers as consumer price inflation hit an almost 4-year high of 2.9 percent in May, whilst the old retail price inflation gauge rose to 3.7 percent from 3.5 percent.