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MPs demand business rates overhaul

MPs have called for radical changes to the way business rates are assessed.

The all-party business, innovation and skills committee said after an inquiry that the current system was “not fit for purpose”.

Its report was focussed on the retail sector but strongly criticised the entire rating system for hampering too many businesses with unreasonable costs.

Committee chair Adrian Bailey said: “This is a time for wholesale review and fundamental reform, not for tinkering around the edges. 

“Business rates are not fit for purpose and minor administrative changes will not alter that.”

The committee particularly criticised the delay to the planned revaluation of business rates from next year until 2017.

It said the effect of this was to leave businesses paying rates based on property values assessed before the recession in 2008, so leading to rates being too high for premises where values have since fallen.

“We urge the Government to ensure that during the time before the next revaluation, it works towards the complete reform of the revaluation system, one of the ambitions of which should be the annual review of business rates,” the report said.

 

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