Firms await outcome of business rates review

Business bosses are waiting to find out whether the Chancellor will push ahead with radical changes to Britain’s business rates system.

The current regime has come in for intense criticism in recent years, with groups including the British Chambers of Commerce and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) citing the “deep-seated” problems with the way the rates are currently levied.

In last year’s Autumn Statement, George Osborne said that a wide-reaching review into the existing system would inform this year’s Budget.

But with just over a week to go, businesses fear that the Chancellor may yet shy away from some of the more radical changes which are being put forward by the supporters of reform.

Many companies have argued in favour of more frequent revaluations of their property, believing that every five years is insufficient, while the CBI wants to see the levy brought in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The organisation argues that this change would prevent rates outpacing the official measure of inflation.

It’s unclear however if Mr Osborne is willing to give the go-ahead to either of these key changes when he steps up to the despatch box next Wednesday (March 16th).

A Treasury spokesman refused to be drawn on the options currently being considered, only confirming that the review was continuing and was still scheduled to report at the Budget.

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Adam Cramer

Adam Cramer

Partner at Wilson Wright