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Business Rates Reform Must Give Rise To Fairness, Says ALMR

Responding to the consultation on the administration of business rates in England, the ALMR is calling on the Government to overhaul the current system to reduce the burden on licensed hospitality.

The Government’s consultation on the administration of business rates closed on 06 June and invited ideas from stakeholders on long term reform to the way in which rates are set and processed. The changes will not take effect until after 2017.

ALMR Strategic Affairs Director, Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR is urging to Government to go further than an administrative review and press ahead with root and branch reform. Changes to the system need to be brought in coincide with the 2015 revaluation and shouldn’t wait until 2017.

“We want to ensure that this is a genuine tax on business, not just a property tax and that the burden of raising funds is shared more equitably. Presently pubs bear a disproportionate burden compared with online or retail. At present, pubs are paying 15 pence per pint in business rates compared to around 5 pence in supermarkets.

“There needs to be a far greater degree of consistency and fairness when it comes to calculating valuations which underpin the method for calculating rates. Rateable value is supposed to be based on assumptions of fair maintainable trade which value property equally irrespective of occupier, but increasingly actuals are being used which penalises successful pubs. There is also a lack of transparency regarding the methodology for determining rates for individual pubs.

“Annual increases linked to CPI with a statutory cap backed up by a triennial review would ensure responsiveness to the market and deliver results without penalising successful pubs.

“The ALMR will continue to press the Government and campaign for a root and branch reform which will provide a fairer deal for the licensed hospitality sector.”

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