A revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 in line with the government’s latest efforts to “reduce uncertainty” for firms affected by the ongoing pandemic.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP confirmed that legislation has now been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021.
The announcement comes as ministers want to ensure businesses have “more certainty during this difficult time”.
Jenrick said: “We have listened to businesses and their concerns about the timing of the 2021 business rates revaluation and have acted to end that uncertainty by postponing the change.
“Now is the time for us to continue to focus on supporting businesses affected by the pandemic, including through our unprecedented package of almost £10bn in business rates relief.”
The government said it is continuing work on the fundamental review of business rates, with the “key aims” of reducing the overall burden on businesses, improving the current business rates system, and considering more fundamental changes in the medium-to-long term. The call for evidence for the review will be published in the coming months.
Alex Probyn, UK president of expert services at Altus Group, who’s firm led the call, said he was “delighted” that the government had listened to the concerns of businesses.
Probyn said: “This is great news. A revaluation next year, based upon open market rents in April 2019, a year before the pandemic, would have been so painful for UK businesses in the wake of such hardship, if the new tax demands were assessed from pre-Covid levels.
“It is far more beneficial economically to tie new rateable values under the next revaluation cycle to post Covid-19 levels, where the impact of the economic circumstances are more clear, and when businesses will have had longer to recover.”
The news comes as major UK banks received around 100,000 applications for the new ‘bounce back’ loan scheme on the first day of the loan went live to businesses.
The government-launched scheme offers loans up to £50,000, and is designed to cover loopholes that exist in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).