A SURVEY of firms in England reveals that a majority want to see “stability, predictability and fairness” achieved through five-yearly revaluations of business rates.
In Hillingdon, business rates specialists CVS estimate there are still 5,975 sites yet to appeal their rateable value, which equates to £276.9M.
CVS estimate there is still £37m worth of savings across the seven-year rating list to be made for businesses in the borough, should they decide to lodge an appeal.
A survey of more than 250 ratepayers, conducted by CVS, showed concern that the Government could introduce more frequent reassessments of property values.
A large majority – 65% – of respondents favoured retaining the predictability of five-yearly revaluations, with just 7% supporting annual reassessments. Of the remainder, 10% supported two-yearly and 18% three-yearly revaluations.
CVS are warning that reforms to the frequency of rates re-assessments would threaten the stability and predictability of payments on which ratepayers rely, imposing heightened uncertainty on firms and their employees.
CVS do not believe the Valuation Office Agency has the capacity to deliver annual reassessments of rental values without a substantial (and unlikely) increase in resources.
More frequent reassessments, it says, would exacerbate the current 131,000 backlog of rates appeals, which is already leaving businesses out of pocket.
Mark Rigby, chief executive of CVS, said: “Any reform to the system must protect the predictability and stability of this significant overhead for ratepayers.
“CVS have been saying this for some time and these research findings clearly show that stability and predictability is what businesses want.
“The business rates system is not fundamentally broken and the Government should not be pressured into introducing new and unproven methods.
"The focus should be on creating a less adversarial system which is more transparent and equitable, and which doesn’t leave businesses confused and frustrated about rates.”
The survey was undertaken in response to a discussion paper, published jointly by the Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
They have since announced they are shelving a controversial review of business rates appeals.
The DCLG says it will “fold the consideration of reform…into the broader review of business rates administration, which is considering longer-term reform taking effect after the next revaluation in April 2017.”
Mr Rigby said: “Getting business rates right is important so a reform that does it once and does it properly is the right way to go.”