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New bill to modernise Business Rates system

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A new bill introduced today will support businesses by modernising the business rates system to incentivise property improvements.

A new bill introduced today (Wednesday 29 March) will support businesses by modernising the business rates system to incentivise property improvements and support more frequent revaluations.

The measures being put forward review and reform business rates in England, making them fairer and more responsive to changes in the market.

The Non-Domestic Business Rating Bill will introduce more frequent valuations, to take place every three years instead of the current five, meaning those with falling values will see their bills drop sooner.

It will also provide new business rates improvement relief, so businesses making qualifying building improvements will not face higher business rates bills for 12 months. This will make it easier for businesses to invest with new reliefs for property improvements, providing tax breaks for businesses who are extending or upgrading their property.

Local Government Minister, Lee Rowley MP said:

The introduction of our Non-Domestic Rating Bill seeks to deliver the reforms announced during our Business Rates Review.

We are bringing the administration of the tax up to date, and making the system more responsive to changes in the economy and introducing new support to reduce barriers to business investment.

This is another step in the right direction for making sure the UK continues levelling up and supports businesses to grow and flourish.

The bill will build on recent steps to cut business rates, with £13.6 billion of support announced at the Autumn Statement, and to redistribute the tax through the 2023 revaluation.

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 with more frequent revaluations to make the system fairer and more responsive.

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

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive at the British Property Federation, said:

These measures are a welcome step towards creating a business rates system that is fair for all. The British Property Federation has long-called for more frequent revaluations to help ensure the level of rates payable reflects current market conditions and structural changes in the economy.

A move from five to three yearly revaluations is a marked improvement, and we would like to see Government continuing to strive towards even more frequent revaluations in due course. The introduction of a business rates improvement relief is also a welcome boost as property owners and occupiers work together to decarbonise and futureproof older buildings and support the UK’s journey to net-zero.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

Retailers welcome moving to three-yearly revaluations, meaning business rate bills will reflect underlying market conditions more quickly. Changes to valuation appeals processes and more transparency are also vital and the improvement relief will encourage more retailers to invest in their properties. 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.

The Non-Domestic Rating Bill has been informed by the Business Rates Review, which ran from July 2020 to October 2021. The consultation responses can be viewed online here.

The Bill has been introduced in parliament and will be debated in due course.

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