Sir Michael Lyons’ March 2007 report into the role and funding of local government recommended a supplementary business rate (giving local councils a power to levy an additional payment on top of the national business rate) rather than full relocalisation of the business rate.
The Government indicated they would be taking forward proposals for Supplementary Business Rates in their Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration in July 2007. Following Chamber campaigning on the issue, in October 2007 the Government published Business Rate Supplements – A White Paper, recommending that supplements should go ahead with four levels of protection for business. These are that: they will be for economic development purposes only under clear plans and accounting arrangements; a national upper limit of 2p in the pound will be set on the level of supplements that can be levied; properties liable for business rates with a rateable value of £50,000 or less will be exempted from payment; and where the supplement will support more than a third of the total cost of the project there will additionally be a full ‘double-lock’ ballot of businesses affected. This White Paper has formed the basis for the Business Rates Supplement Bill and is making its way through Parliament.
The Government also announced that they would be removing Empty Property Rate Relief on business rates from April 2008, but lobbying from the BCC and Chambers, the 2008 Pre-Budget Report saw the Government exempt businesses with a rateable value of less than £15, 000 from the charge for 2009-10 only. Following lobbying by BCC and other business organisations about the planned five per cent increase in business rates for 1 April 2009, the Government also announced that they would be bringing in legislation to allow businesses the ability to spread their payments of this relief over a three year period. The next revaluation of properties to assess their value for the purposes of business rate payment will be on 1 April 2010.
Sir Michael Lyons Inquiry into Business Rates (21 August 2006, Newbury Racecourse)
Other downloads: Background Briefing; Press Statement; Report Summary
Business Rate Revaluation and Transition Consultation
A consultation on transition arrangements for the 2010 Revaluation for business rates is underway. Every five years all non-domestic properties are assessed and given new rateable values, based upon rental values, for the purpose of calculating liability for business rates. Because some rates will rise and some will fall government are putting in place a scheme to offer relief to those who could see their rates increase as a result of the revaluation and seeking views on this issue.
To read the summary of consultation click here
Did you know you can defer part of your 2009-10 business rates bills? Learn how by reading the new Government Scheme