Budget submission: action needed on current ‘broken’ rates system
Ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget on 8th March, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s national body, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), is urging the Government to get to grips with reforming the business rates system.
The business group is calling on the Chancellor to use his last Spring Budget to support long-term business investment by taking action to deliver real reform to the business rates system. As it stands, the system creates a number of unforeseen incentives for business location, property improvement, and plant and machinery investment.
The call comes after representatives from a number of chambers in the network including Stephen Britt, board member of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, met with Jane Ellison MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to highlight how the current business rates revaluation process is disproportionately affecting some local businesses.
The BCC is seeking four key measures on business rates from the Spring Budget:
Abandon the fiscal neutrality principle in business rates reform – an unacceptable barrier to fundamental reform of the business rates system that is unique to that tax
Bring forward the switch from RPI to CPI, currently planned for April 2020, to April 2017
Removal of all plant and machinery from the valuation of property for business rates purposes
Drop proposals to restrict the ability of the Valuation Tribunal for England to order changes to business rates liabilities
Stephen Britt said “the BCC is doing the right thing at the right time. The current rates system is broken, and despite attempts by successive governments to introduce marginal reforms, the fundamental unfairness of business rates remains – not least the requirement on businesses to pay upfront.
“It is imperative that the Government listens and acts quickly to implement a fairer, simpler and less burdensome system that at its worst penalises good businesses and blights whole business clusters, including high streets. The coming budget would be the perfect opportunity to initiate a fundamental reform of the system.”