05/10/09

By Francesca James

The government has announced the new rates assessments for all businesses in England and Wales and many companies have been left shocked at the increases they are facing.

The new assessments are based on property market conditions in early 2008 which were far more buoyant across all sectors. This is in marked contrast to the recession hit property market currently being experienced.

“Some businesses have woken up to the news that their rates assessments have doubled overnight and this is at a time where reducing cost is essential in order to ensure survival” says Nick Wright Director of business rates specialists, ratesrecovery.com.

Business has faced a traumatic time when it comes to business rates over the last year. At the beginning of the year the government changed the rules so full rates were payable on vacant properties. In addition local authorities are being allowed to charge additional business rates supplements on top of the normal rates bill and occupiers in central London are to face an additional surcharge for the Crossrail scheme. For many the latest increases in rateable values are the last straw.

Although the government has announced the new values it has not yet confirmed the details of any transitional relief schemes or what the Uniform Business Rate multiplier will be.

“The current situation is a mess” comments Nick Wright Director at ratesrecovery.com. “Without knowing transitional relief details and the UBR it is desperately hard for businesses to budget accurately for next years rates bills. Businesses should use the next few months wisely and ensure that they prepare to appeal their assessments. Successful appeals can result in massive savings and refunds.”