We have today lodged our comments on various aspects of the consultation – a copy of our submission is attached here.

In summary:

  • We think it is premature to be abolishing Small Business Rates relief (SBRR) and increasing vacant property rates until after Brexit takes place.
  • If SBRR is replaced in the future, a new relief should be targeted on vacant properties empty for more than 6 months to encourage new business formation and the occupation of vacant properties.
  • The proposed Business Empowerment Zones do not go far enough and need to be rates free for 3 years in order to shift occupier demand and have a strong positive impact.
  • Councils should be allowed to vary the level of vacant property rates to reflect local circumstances.
  • The rates cap on homes worth over £400,000 should be phased-out over 3 years to mitigate the impact on the housing market and construction sector.
  • The Department should investigate innovative ways to undertake a domestic revaluation as quickly, cheaply and fairly as possible.

We encourage everyone affected by the proposals to make their own representations before the Consultation finishes on 16 February 2017.