Rates revaluation delay will hit High Streets, says property expert

May 23, 2013

 

Businesses most in need of rates relief – provincial high streets, independent businesses, and the tourism and leisure sectors will lose out, it claims.
 
In a 21st-century echo of Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’, the policy will penalise those businesses least able to cope.
The current business rates liability is based on pre-recession rental valuations, which means that only prime retail centres and London offices stand to benefit from the postponement.
 
Mark Clapham (pictured), regional head of rating at LSH, said: “In difficult economic circumstances the government has decided to postpone desperately required action on business rates.
 
"We are told ‘Britain is open for business’, however, this only seems the case for global retailers receiving attractive tax breaks.”
 
he said that the policy will add to an already uneven playing field between traditional high street retailers and global internet retailers. Global businesses operating in the UK, but appearing to pay little or no tax, argue that they are operating within the rules.
 
Regardless of the arguments on either side, the apparent unfairness of the current situation has caused Business Secretary, Vince Cable to call for a debate. Business rates are just one issue in an over-complicated UK business tax code which has failed to move with the times.
 
Mr Clapham said: “Businesses will do whatever is necessary to ensure their survival – cutting costs to the bone and using legal means to reduce tax bill.
 
"It is this latter option that has provoked the Business Secretary’s welcome calling for a wider debate on business taxation.”
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