Our Thoughts

Chancellor’s business rates giveaway continues…

The Chancellor pledges three-yearly revaluations from 2021

In a somewhat short Spring Statement the Chancellor continued with the government’s on-going reform of the business rates system with an unexpected surprise. The next scheduled revaluation has been brought forward by one year, from 1 April 2022 to 1 April 2021, when three-yearly revaluations will come into effect.

BNP Paribas Real Estate has long championed three-yearly revaluations. We view today’s announcement – which brings forward this pledge – as most welcome indeed.  When the Chancellor pledged three-yearly revaluations in his November budget speech, we thought that the current 2017 rating list would continue for the scheduled five years.

The valuation date for the 2017 rating list is 1 April 2015 and the valuation date for the 2021 rating list will be 1 April 2019, just one year away.  With limited movement in rental levels in many locations between these dates and values continuing to rise in some locations, today’s news should prevent big swings in rateable value and corresponding rates bills come 1 April 2021.

Our concern now is whether or not the Valuation Office Agency is adequately resourced to deal with another revaluation. Like many government agencies they have been subject to cuts in staffing, with many experienced valuers leaving the agency. Moreover, there is still a backlog of 2010 rating list appeals that looks set to get worse, with imminent changes to reopen the list in order to deal with another budget pledge – restoring some businesses’ liabilities where they are affected by the ‘Mazars’ judgement.

These concerns should not however distract from today’s announcement, which we believe is generally good news for businesses. We now predict that the next significant announcement will be a self-assessment based regime.