New business rates bill aims to “let communities thrive”

The Government has introduced a new bill to modernise business rates across the country.

Following feedback from businesses calling for a fairer system, the new Non-Domestic Rating Bill, announced on 29 March, will support businesses by incentivising property investment and introducing more frequent valuations.

A new business rates improvement relief will remove barriers for businesses to extend or upgrade their property. Businesses undertaking qualifying building improvements will not face higher rates for a year.

According to Melanie Leech of the British Property Federation, this relief could also support the UK’s journey to net zero as businesses work to future-proof older buildings.

Furthermore, valuations will now take place every three years instead of every five years, meaning businesses with falling values could see their bills drop earlier than expected.

The Government says these new measures will make business rates in England fairer and more responsive to changes in the market. The bill will build on recent measures from the 2022 Autumn Statement, which saw £13.6 billion announced in business rates support.

Victoria Atkins, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“I want businesses to know that the Government is on their side. Businesses have asked for changes to the business rates system, and we are acting, including more frequent revaluations to make the system fairer and more responsive.

“And they come on top of £13.6bn of business rates support which resets the balance between bricks and clicks businesses, helping our much-loved high streets and communities.”

However, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, urged the Government to take further action to support businesses:

“These are all positive changes, but the job is not done. Government’s focus must remain on reducing the rates burden, enabling more local communities across the country to thrive.”

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