The attempt by the government to effectively prohibit appeals on business rates revaluation is, quite simply, an assault on small business.

Poll Tax riot, 1990

Who predicts a riot? - The Poll Tax riot in central London in 1990 revealed a previously undreamed-of level of anger at perceived unfairness in assessing property rates - Source: Shutterstock/David Fowler

Far from providing a clear and streamlined system, the new proposed approach to check, challenge and appeal is simply a lazy attempt to reduce paperwork for the Valuations Office, which will mean businesses overpaying tax for up to five years without any recourse.

The proposed changes would essentially outlaw appeals in England, condemning hundreds of thousands of firms to overpaying their rates bills, even when they can prove they should be lower.

Under the reforms, appeals against 2017 rating assessments that fall ‘within the bounds of reasonable professional judgement’ can be dismissed, leaving businesses with limited means to challenge their assessments.

This is the latest in a series of government propositions that could bind ratepayers in England, who already pay the highest local property tax in the world, to excessive business rates.

At the BCA, we work with operators of serviced, managed, industrial and co-working space, collectively providing a home to tens of thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands of employees.

As a professional body working at the coalface, we cannot understand why, when professing to be open for business, the government would put so significant a brake on investment and stifle opportunities for growth for thousands of our most promising new and growing companies.

We must all respond vocally and forcibly to this poorly thought-out legislation and seek to ensure it is not implemented.

Jennifer Brooke, executive director, BCA