English businesses are yet to receive a single penny in relief following the announcement of a £1.5bn targeted Covid support fund six months ago.
The business rates relief fund was announced to help businesses affected by Covid outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. The government said it would retrospectively ban more than 170,000 rates appeals citing the pandemic and its impact on property values.
Councils were to distribute the pot based on economic impact rather than drop in property values.
Some 430,670 offices which were under a work from home instruction for most of the pandemic, had to pay their annual property taxes of £7.89bn in full for 16 months, according to real estate adviser, Altus Group.
Robert Hayton, UK president of Altus Group said: “Not only has not a single penny, from a wholly inadequate scheme, has yet to be paid out but as resources are diverted to deal with the 2023 revaluation forcing businesses to continue to suffer artificially high rates bills.”
A Government spokesperson said: “The government has provided a £350bn package of support throughout the pandemic to support businesses and individuals, helping to protect lives and livelihoods.
“We are working closely with local government to enable ratepayers to apply to the fund as soon as possible, once the legislation relating to Material Change of Circumstance provisions has passed and local authorities have set up local relief schemes.”
The Altus Group urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak, to use the upcoming Autumn Budget speech to announce strict targets for the Valuation Office Agency, to clear a growing appeals backlog.
The pot will be made available once a bill banning pandemic appeals receives Royal Assent which could take a further few months, the Altus Group added.