Small businesses call on chancellor to end "living nightmare" of business rates

Helen Cahill
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Small businesses are calling on the government to sort out the "chaos" of businesses rates, saying that the property tax has become a "living nightmare".

The rates system has been roundly attacked by the business community over the past year after the government re-evaluated the tax in April.

Read more: Councils under pressure after delays to business rates relief

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging chancellor Philip Hammond to reduce the tax burden on small firms in the Autumn Budget with a range of measures.

The group has called for more frequent rates re-evaluations, an end to the so-called "staircase tax" and for future rate rises to be linked to the consumer price index (CPI) rather than the retail price index (RPI).

Firms which occupied several floors in a property used to receive one rates bill, but are now being charged individual bills for each floor they occupy if the floors are connected by a communal staircase.

Read more: Business rates to rise by £1bn in England due to rocketing inflation

However, firms with a private staircase are not being charged more, which has led to a campaign to end the "staircase tax".

The British Retail Consortium and others have also asked for the chancellor to link annual increases in business rates to CPI to lessen the tax rise for firms, which will land in April.

Mike Cherry, FSB's national chairman, said: "Today marks seven months of business rates chaos following April's bruising revaluation.

"The business rates regime is nothing short of a living nightmare for millions of small firms."

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