By Marcus Leach
The cost of running a business in England varies wildly across regions — the average rateable values of commercial property can differ by as much as £114,000.
When looking at business rates on premises, London’s Westminster has been named as the area with the highest in the country, while Tendring in the East of England offers the lowest, according to research by online accountant Crunch.co.uk.
The latest 2010 figures obtained from the Valuation Office
Agency’s (VOA) website show that Westminster’s average business rate is £123,600 - more than 13 times that of Tendring in Essex, which has an average business rate of £9,300.
Overall, the average rateable value of business property in England currently stands at £32,800. The findings show a significant increase compared to 2005, when the average value was £27,000.
“There are lots of different costs associated with setting up and running a business, and rates are important to consider, especially for those in need of a fixed business premises trading in an expensive part of the country,” said Darren Fell, founder of Crunch.co.uk.
“Although local authorities take these figures set by the VOA and reduce them via reliefs that are applicable, the rates may also illustrate why a lot of small start-ups choose to run their businesses from home, with the option of employing virtual staff or freelancers if they’re unsure of committing to fixed costs of commercial office space.”
The top five average business rates in England reveal a big gap between London authorities and the rest of the country:
* Westminster - £123,600
* City of London - £111,000
* Hillingdon - £100,600
* Crawley (SE) - £86,800
* Kensington and Chelsea - £80,300
East and South East England also fare highly, each having five local authorities inside the top 20, while Solihull in the West Midlands is the only entry in the top 20 from outside the three dominant regions.
At the lower end of the scale, the South West is prominent, as is the North West. The five areas with the lowest rates are:
* Tendring (East) - £9,300
* Torridge (SW) - £10,100
* Isle of Scilly (SW) - £10,400
* North Norfolk (East) - £10,900
* Forest of Dean (SW) - £11,200
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