Monday 27 April 2020 12:01 am

Retailers call on government to withdraw ‘disastrous’ business rates bill

A coalition of retail organisations today called on the government to ditch a business rates bill they say would be “disastrous”for the high street.

The Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) Bill brings forwards the next revelation of business rates for 2.08m non-domestic properties in England and Wales to 1 April 2021.

If the bill receives asset, it will allow the government to set future business rates for a minimum of the next three financial years by reference to rents that were being paid on 1 April 2019.

The group of retailers argue that the government should leave the next revaluation to 2022 as previously planned

James Lowman, the chief executive of the association of convenience stores, said: “With such profound changes in the retail industry and property market, we need to make sure that business rates reflect the present and the future, not the past.”

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive at the British Independent Retailers Association,said: “The current proposal would be disastrous for all businesses that pay non-domestic rates.” adding: “We must have the reference point for determining future rates bills at a time post coronavirus so they are an accurate assessment taking into account the full impact once this crisis has passed.”

Alex Probyn, UK president at Altus Group, Britain’s largest ratings advisory, said: “A revaluation in 2022, based upon open market rents in 2021, would provide a complete reset of rateable values taking into account the state of the market after the crisis has passed.”

A government spokesperson said: “The government is doing whatever it takes to support businesses during this national emergency, including an unprecedented nearly £10bn in business rates relief.

“We are carefully considering the future revaluation of business rates and will provide further information in due course.”