Despite the appalling state of the economy, the government has seen fit to raise business rates by an average of 5.5% across England and Wales. This is all a bit inconsistent with a government supporting struggling businesses.
Commenting, Gerald Irwin of Sutton Coldfield based licensed insolvency practitioners and business advisers said, “This will hit small businesses hard especially at a time of weak economic growth and falling levels of consumer spending.”
Business rates very often represent one of the largest overheads after rent and salaries and such an increase will undoubtedly have a negative effect on already struggling businesses. The appeals system, following changes made in 2010, has become unwieldy and overly bureaucratic. Dealing with such appeals has become inflexible and not fit for purpose as appeals can take almost two years to process which is two years too late for many businesses to survive.
“Excessively high business rates threaten the profitability of businesses and diminish their growth prospects. So what can businesses do in mitigation? The answer is quite simple. Businesses must challenge the assessment on the property they occupy in order to recover any monies owed to them,” Mr. Irwin concluded.