The government is set to pay out £4.2bn to companies that successfully appeal against their business rate bills between 2010 and 2015, data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed.
This year alone, councils will pay an estimated £578m to businesses in England following successful appeals, according to the figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government, obtained by high streets campaigner Paul Turner-Mitchell.
Just more than a third (35%) of business properties in England had appealed their business rates assessment as at March 31, 2014; a total of 590,850 appeals out of 1,787,000 properties in England. Turner-Mitchell said he projected this to rise to nearly 40% by the end of March 2015.
The total bill includes any interest payments arising from the repayments.
Last month, the government abandoned its business rate appeal reforms, deciding to include them within a broader review of business rates to come into effect in 2017.
Turner-Mitchell said: “With such huge sums of money earmarked for appeals, the priority must be to get this money back into the pockets of business to help them grow and prosper. ”