Tens of thousands of businesses across England and Wales are thought to have been referred to bailiffs in the first five months of the business rates revaluation.
According to the UK’s largest ratings advisor Altus Group, around 41,000 businesses were referred to bailiffs for non-payment of their business rates bills.
Following a freedom of information request, 247 local councils revealed that 28,355 business premises were referred to bailiffs between April 1 and August 31 last year, but Altus said this could be far higher and represents a nine per cent rise in the use of bailiffs by councils compared to 2016.
If bailiffs are authorised they can legally enter a business and seize goods which are then sold in public auction.
The proceeds are then given to local councils in order to settle debt.
One in 11 businesses in the London boroughs of Hounslow and Lewisham faced having their goods seized over the five-month period.
Britain now has the highest property taxes in the world, according to the OECD, topping £80 billion for the first time.
“It isn’t only those whose values have increased that are struggling,” UK president of business rates at Altus Group Alex Probyn said.
“The current, deeply unfair, system of transitional adjustment severely limits the amount by which bills can go down, meaning many businesses are paying disproportionately high bills in locations where local economies are underperforming and values are falling.
“It goes without saying that now is the time, more than ever, that businesses need to carefully understand their new rates assessment and to check that what they’re being told to pay is indeed accurate and correct.”