The UK’s business rates appeal system is grinding to a halt, a leading real estate company has warned.
With just weeks to go until the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) releases the new rateable values for non-domestic properties, agency Colliers International has warned over 300,000 rate appeals are still yet to be heard.
John Webber, head of rating at Colliers International, labelled the VOA “under-resourced, undermined and demoralised.”
He said: “The government’s decision to delay the last revaluation will come home to roost in a matter of weeks when we predict massive rates hikes across London and the south east. This leaves HM Treasury with no alternative except to introduce significant relief to ease the pain.”
Colliers is calling on the government to introduce more frequent revaluations, increase funding to the VOA to help handle the backlog and introduce a register of appeal professionals, reducing what it called the “cowboy” element of appeal hearings.
Earlier this year, retail groups including the British Retail Consortium, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses wrote to then chancellor George Osborne demanding an urgent cut in rates to help stimulate growth following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
Their calls were echoed by retailer’s in London’s West End, including Selfridges and Fenwicks, who argued rate cuts were necessary to help protect the shopping district from economic uncertainties.