JLL boss calls out government on business rates "disaster"

Helen Cahill
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Warnings Given As April Business Rate Rise Threatens UK High Streets
Business groups have been lobbying for reform of the UK's property taxes (Source: Getty)

The UK boss of JLL has hit out at the government's revaluation of business rates, calling the arrangements around the tax changes due to start in April a "disaster".

Speaking at global property conference Mipim, Chris Ireland said that despite flaws in the system, he did not expect the government to make any significant changes to it.

Read more: Government hands over £2.5bn in quiet U-turn over business rates

The UK's commercial property taxes have been revaluated for the first time in seven years, and will sky-rocket for many businesses in the capital.

Business groups have protested that the taxes fall disproportionately on companies with a physical presence on the UK high street, and have said that transitional relief arrangements for the hardest-hit do not go far enough.

"It's not capturing online," Ireland said. "And the transition arrangements have been a disaster."

In his spring Budget, chancellor Philip Hammond set aside £300m for councils to hand out over the next five years to help businesses that are struggling with the tax changes.

Read more: New £300m fund for business rates relief

The department for communities and local government has also rowed back on changes to how businesses appeal valuations, a U-turn that effectively hands £2.5bn back to the business community over the next five years.

The property tax upheaval has not deterred international investors at Mipim, however. Tim Vallance, head of retail and leisure at JLL said that nobody had mentioned the business rates system because it was "unfair, but not uncertain", and that political instability in European markets was more of a deterrent to international investment.

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