Oxford High Street

The UK’s business rates is “entrenching regional unfairness”, according to the head of one of the country’s biggest and most influential business lobby groups.

The time taken to complete revaluations in having an adverse effect on areas already struggling and those “on the up”, John Allan said.

Under the current system, new valuations are carried out every three years. But Mr Allan stressed that a cycle any longer than one year means that business rates lag “far behind economic cycles and property prices”.

“Firms in the area continued to pay business rates at up to 20% above their rateable value,” Mr Allan said.

“The lag between the area’s boom in property prices and its latest business rates revaluation has seen firms suddenly having to cope with an almost 50% increase in their bill.

“That is a hit that some won’t be able to survive.”

The CBI also called on the government to act on its manifesto pledge from the 2017 general election to overhaul the business rates system. However, the government said it was already making the system fairer.

In the latest Budget Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond said the government was committing £1.5 billion to cutting business rates.