A number of well-known CRE advisory firms are continuing to propose sticking plasters such as more frequent valuations, simpler exemptions, reduced multipliers etc. This misses the point but is not surprising. If you generate fee income from advising on business rates appeals – 289,510 checks were registered between March and December 2020 – you aren’t going to suggest their abolition.
The CBI agrees that the system is broken. It is an outdated tax that is holding back the growth of high-street retailers, gyms, hospitality and flexible workspace operators among many others, who could otherwise build much more sustainable businesses.
I gave evidence to the Treasury Select Committee in 2019 as part of the inquiry into the impact of business rates and fully support Kevin Hollinrake MP’s proposal to abolish business rates and increase VAT by 3% to cover the £30bn shortfall. This would see town centres revitalised (and probably greater fee income overall for CRE advisers).
Rishi Sunak has a fantastic opportunity, but will he listen?