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Added on: 31st October, 2019 by O1
Thu, 31 October 2019
MPs Recommend Business Rates Reform Across the UK - The Treasury Committee has recommended the reform of the business rates system across the UK following an inquiry into how the system is operating.
It follows persistent lobbying from Business Improvement Districts and a lengthy consultation process launched in the early part of 2019, which came hot on the heels of the ‘High Street 2030’ inquiry from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, reported on by Orpington 1st BID earlier this year.
The report 'The Impact of Business Rates on Businesses' identifies the current system as inadequate and urges the Government to consider a regime that is more responsive to economic trends.
It found that, although the system of reliefs was there to ease the burden on businesses, it had got to the point where they added complexity to an already confusing tax system, were arbitrary in some cases, and were applied inconsistently. They are not seen as a panacea by the Committee.
Also coming in for criticism was the appeals system with it being noted that the Valuation Office Agency in England is still dealing with cases from the 2010 listings.
The report clearly outlines the need for structural reform stating:
“Tweaking the current system of business rates through an increasingly complex web of reliefs does little to address the negative aspects of this tax and simply demonstrates how broken the system is. Given the changing nature of the economy, and with high streets on the decline, the Government needs to be curious, proactive and creative in exploring alternative options to such an important source of revenue.”
Many MPs are already in favour of business rates reform. It is the process of identifying viable alternatives, and doing so in a context where politicians are currently distracted by other matters that remains the critical challenge to achieving reform.
Lobbying will continue and the Orpington 1st BID team have already met with prospective parliamentary candidates to discuss the issue.