Tuesday 22 December 2020 8:52 am

Offices share half-a-billion business rates write-off

The Valuation Office Agency has agreed to write off almost £500m-worth of offices’ business rates after weeks of negotiations.

Business rates discounts were announced for firms directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, including pubs and restaurants.

Read more: UK borrowing in November the third-highest on record

Offices that lay empty however were still charged at their full rate.

Around 150,000 firms appealed, citing a material change in circumstances, an adviser close to the negotiations told City A.M.

The decision raises the possibility that more firms may come forward to the VOA, an executive agency of HMRC, with further appeals.

Robert Hayton, Head of Property Tax at ratings advisory Altus Group, said the Agency had been “brilliant.”

He said we “must now focus on full reductions and other property types, especially retail hospitality and leisure where the current rates exemption ends on March 31.”

Read more: British Chambers of Commerce slam “constantly shifting goalposts” on restrictions