The UK government has launched a consultation to consider plans to increase the frequency of business rates revaluations that could see them take place every three years rather than the current five year period.
The consultation has been launched by the HM Treasury as part of the government’s wider review into business rates which is slated to launch this autumn.
According to Jesse Norman, the financial secretary to the treasury, the proposals laid out in the consultation would mean that valuation “more quickly reflect how the economy is performing” while making the business rates system “more accurate and responsive”.
Norman also suggested that it would “balance the burden for ratepayers” and form an integral part of the government’s plans to support a recovering economy and help businesses “build back better.”
Dialling up the regularity of revaluations on business rates has long been the call from many across the UK’s retail sector, even before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting that rates remained based on rental values from 2015. These values had been underscored as ‘outdated’ by leaders across the property and retail sectors.
The British Retail Consortium’s chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said: “It is great that government have heeded our call for more frequent revaluations. This should be the first step towards making the business rates system fairer and more reflective of current economic conditions.
“As retail emerges from the pandemic, a return to ‘business rates-as-usual’ could derail the industry’s recovery, with unnecessary shop closures and job losses the result.
“It is vital that the government builds on this first step on the road to reform and stands by its commitment to reduce the overall rates burden on businesses and ensures there are no further delays to the outcome of the fundamental review.”