The huge, and exact, number of hospitality businesses still waiting for the outcome of their appeals against business rate rises seven years ago has been revealed – 20,490. The number was obtained by the British Hospitality Association and business rates specialist Altus through a Freedom of Information request.
Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association said:
“The findings from our Freedom of Information request paint a chaotic picture. We now know the full extent of the rates crisis facing the hospitality industry. This is further compounded by the lack of clarity concerning the new appeals process for this year’s increases. Through no fault of its own the Valuation Office is underfunded and thus over run. The government needs to act now for our members and the wider hospitality community.”
Business rate expert David Shuttleworth, vice-president of specialist surveyors Altus UK said: “We are acutely aware that this is a particularly challenging climate for many operators to stay profitable, and we have sympathy with the frustrations that many businesses in the hospitality sector face when addressing their rates rises.
“The recently published Valuation Office Business Plan commits the agency to settling all 2010 Rating List appeals by 31st March 2019 so businesses may have nearly 2 more years for their retrospective appeals to be concluded. This at the same time that increases in rates as a consequence of the 2017 Rating Revaluation are impacting on SMEs in particular.”
The average increase in Rateable Values on hotels for the 2017 revaluation is around 23 per cent with some businesses facing rises a lot higher. Westminster, central London, has seen average rises of 39 per cent and in Eastbourne, on the south coast, the figure is 45 per cent. Restaurants and pubs face massive increases too, notwithstanding the £1,000 a year rebate given to the pubs which works out at just £20 a week.
Business rates will be a key issue at the BHA’s annual hospitality and tourism day in parliament on October 10. Last year’s event was attended by over 150 business owners and 65 MPs.