UKH and BII call for further business rates reform

UKHospitality (UKH) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) have combined to urge the Government to introduce business rates reform.

The trade bodies together welcomed the opportunity to comment on the business rates revaluations consultation, and supported the notion to increase revaluations to every three years.

However, they claimed that there is need for additional reforms to protect firms from further pressures on already heavily indebtedness, with the sector overpaying by 300% relative to its turnover in the current system.

The number of proposals was also scrutinised by UKH and the BII as they could put a “significant” administrative burden on hospitality businesses.

In turn, they placed a range of proposals to the consultation, such as businesses not to be asked for any additional information at revaluation, the move for more frequent revaluations to be a part of a broader review of business rates designed to reduce the burden on ratespayers, and the Valuation Office Agency to facilitate data returns at valuation.

Other proposals included companies not being charged for challenges, the ridding of fixed windows to challenge, and minimising the time between the AVD and the new list to under 18 months.

The bodies said: “It’s extremely encouraging that the Government is proposing to increase the frequency of revaluations, something for which we have been calling for some time.

“However, the proposals are severely undermined by administrative burdens, limits on appeals and penalties.”

They added: “This proposal is helpful but does not redress the wide-ranging issues with the current system that will severely hamper the sector’s ability to recover from the pandemic if not addressed.

“We urge the Government to work closely with the sector to implement wide-ranging reform that will empower hospitality businesses, to rebuild and repair revenues, create jobs and be at the forefront of the economic recovery.”

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