A leading ratings expert is calling for a cut in business rates next year to match today’s fall in the retail prices index.

Jerry Schurder, head of rating at Gerald Eve, said that the government, which ties the increase in the uniform business rate to the previous September’s RPI, should instead look at the fall in October and consider September’s RPI as a ‘spike’ and fix a lower figure.

In September, the RPI was 5%. In October, it was 4.2%.

He said: ‘Now is an appropriate time for the Government not to apply the full index. RPI in September was artificially high as today’s fall has shown, with predictions of significant further falls over the coming months. Businesses shouldn’t be saddled with additional costs just because of the RPI peak; they need the Government’s support now more than ever.

‘Business rates are already just about the highest local property tax in the world.’