A fundamental review of business rates is needed so that the system reflects today’s economic realities

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With significant brick-and-mortar assets, hospitality and tourism businesses have suffered disproportionately from recent significant business rate rises. As a labour-intensive, people-focused industry we are also facing cost pressures from the introduction of the National Living Wage and face high rates of tourism VAT. These issues contribute to a perfect storm of challenges particular to the hospitality and tourism industry.

Measures announced at the Spring 2017 Budget to help small businesses with business rates were called a ‘drop in the ocean’ by the BHA, particularly as 250,000 businesses continue to await the outcome of appeals from 2010. This process must be fair and transparent and the BHA was proud to secure a commitment from Government that it would not restrict reductions in 2017 rating assessments to cases where the valuation was ‘outside the bounds of reasonable professional judgement', but further work needs to be undertaken in ensuring the appeals process is fit for purpose and able to respond to business demand.

We welcome that at the 2017 Budget the Chancellor recognised the unfairness of rates on bricks and mortar businesses and promised to review this.

The BHA is calling on the Government to undertake a fundamental review of business rates so that the system better reflects today’s economic realities and the emergence of a huge digital economy with little or no physical presence which could attract rates.

Scotland

The BHA has engaged with the Barclay review of Business Rates and secured a one year 12.5% cap on rises resulting from the 2017 revaluation for 8400 businesses in the hospitality sector from the Scottish Government.

For details of the announcement made by Finance Minister Derek Mackay in February 2017 in response to BHA lobbying, please click here - http://www.bha.org.uk/bha_news/business-rates-update-scotland/

Wales

BHA Wales Executive Director David Chapman took personal case studies and the results of a member survey to two National Assembly for Wales Cross Party Groups and two Westminster All Party Groups of Welsh MPs to highlight the erratic, inconsistent and punitive increases that appeared to be randomly inflicted on pockets of members, some in key employment locations.

A BHA Cymru delegation including Chair Justin Baird Murray, Vice Chair Anthony Rosser and Llandudno Hospitality Association Chair Berin Jones met Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, and he responded very positively by offering a meeting with Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford to discuss those suffering hardship and enable a hearing for the argument of reform of the system which was only devolved to Wales in April 2015.

Exclusive offer to BHA members – free expert consultation on Business Rates

Do you need professional advice to help reduce your Business Rates liability?

The BHA has partnered with Altus Group to provide services to help members reduce their business rates liability and update them on relevant changes to the Business Rates system. Over the last 60 years, Altus Group has built up one of the most highly regarded and trusted professional property advisory services in the UK. They represent over 16,000 clients and understand the intricacies of the hospitality sector representing both hospitality SME’s through to larger organisations.

Altus can help BHA members with guidance on all issues related to Business Rates, whether in deciding to appeal or taking advantage of options such as paying rates to their local authority in 12 monthly, rather than 10 monthly instalments. To arrange your free consultation with Altus Group please email businessnessrates@bha.org.uk.

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