Chancellor’s spending review “misses chance” to address business rates

Chancellor Sajid Javid spending review
Colliers says the Chancellor's Spending Review Statement "missed a trick" to address business rates reform.
// Chancellor Sajid Javid’s spending review “misses chance” to address business rates, says ratings expert at Colliers
// Colliers welcomes spending initiatives but “disappointed” in no mention of business rates reform

A leading property consultancy firm has expressed disappointment that the Chancellor’s Spending Review Statement had little to say about business rates reform.

However, Colliers welcomed the increased spending in the UK economy indicated in the spending review.

Although Chancellor Sajid Javid said there would be £241 million next year from the new towns fund to help regenerate high streets, there was little detail about how this would be spent.

This spending review statement follows on from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement last week that the £1 billion Future High Streets Fund will expand to 50 more towns, as part of the government’s plans to reshape town centres and high streets.

However, Colliers said the Chancellor “missed a trick” by not being more specific and said that unless business rates are properly reformed, “it won’t get to the heart of the problem”

“Such spending in itself will not be enough to counter the impact of the 2017 business rates revaluation and introduction of downward phasing,” Colliers head of business rates John Webster said.

“It just simply won’t go far enough to help retailers struggling with their current rate bills.

Webber said the impact of delaying the 2015 Business Rates Revaluation by two years to 2017 meant that many retail businesses were paying too high business rates.

Government policy of implementing any business rates rises immediately, but phasing in any reductions over the four years of the list has also meant that many retailers have been and are still paying too high business rates on their property than they should be.

According to some commentators, should CPI figures for September be 2.1 per cent as predicted, the business rates bill will increase even further – by over £660 million-  next April when increases come into play in line with inflation.

This will mean rises of £170 million predicted for the retail sector alone.

“If the government is serious about saving the high street it must halt any further rises, abolish downwards transition and reduce the multiplier now,” Webster said.

“Without that many retailers in many of our towns will stay under threat, stores will be closed and jobs lost, countering much of the government’s investment plans.”

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