Easter Sunday heralded the start of the new financial year for business rates with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government saying bills will rise by 3.5% overall up £847 million in England to £24.8 billion. The average business premises in England faces a bill of £13,157.
Retailers and hospitality business in London’s iconic West End are some of the hardest hit as further increases from last year’s revaluation are phased in during 2018/19. Over 1,400 shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels have received average business rates rises of almost £50,000 each according to real estate advisor, Altus Group.
The second year ‘cap’ limiting increases in bills is 32% for large properties with a rateable value over £100,000 to which the effects of last September’s 3% Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) is then added, creating a double whammy of tax rises. This comes on top of rises of almost 50% last year.
According to Altus Group, 1,412 large shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels across the capital’s West End all saw tax rises of more than the 3% inflation rate with tax demands totalling an extra £67.99 million for 2018/19 which fell due on 1 April 2018.
The detailed analysis of official government data by Altus Group reveals that 1,164 large shop face average rates rises of £52,381 whilst 45 large hotels, both budget and luxury, face average rates rises of £53,900.
155 large restaurants in the West End will each saw average business rate rises of £24,811 whilst 48 large sized pubs saw average rises of £15,710. Nationally, 242,274 business premises across all sectors in England, saw above inflation rises with London and the South East hit the hardest.
While overall revenue for Councils in England has risen, funding allocated to councils for discretionary relief to help ease the burden of rising rates bills has fallen by more than half from £175.15 million in 2017/18 to just £85 million for this financial year.
Alex Probyn, president of UK business rates at real estate advisor, Altus Group, had urged the Chancellor ahead of his Spring Statement last month to freeze inflationary rises, but said that the focus must now be for businesses “to check that what they’re being told to pay is indeed accurate and correct.” Councils across England have set aside £1.2 billion for tax rebates back to businesses during 2018/19 for successful appeals.