Warning on rates

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Business rates could hit post-pandemic recovery, warns FSBThe Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned that “regressive and outdated” business rates are stopping small companies from investing in post-pandemic expansion plans, describing the system as “indefensible”. In a letter to ministers, the FSB says the tax could hinder the economic recovery and efforts to improve employee wellbeing. The body has called for changes including an increase to the threshold for small business rates relief from £15,000 to £25,000; tax exemptions for investments in solar panels, insulation, ventilation, recycling facilities and bike sheds; relief for childcare providers; and more frequent revaluations that are “light-touch and transparent”. With the Government due to release the findings of a review into business rates later this year, FSB chairman Mike Cherry said ministers are “absolutely right to overhaul a business rates system which often lets online retailers operating from remote warehouses off the hook whilst punishing small businesses that serve as community hubs”. He added that the levy, which brings in about £30bn a year for the Treasury, “hurts small firms trying to do the right thing”. Meanwhile, the British Property Federation (BPF) and British Retail Consortium have called for more frequent revaluations. While the Government is consulting on plans for revaluations to take place every three years instead of five, the BPF believes they should be done annually.

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