Local councils are expected to collect a record £23.5 billion in business rates by 2017.
The government plans to devolve control over business rates to local areas, allowing councils to retain all the income they collect in rates and gain new powers to vary rates under certain conditions.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is calling for the government to introduce a reformed business rating system with the following features:
- annual revaluation regimes to stop businesses being hit by an increase every 5 years
- removal of plant, machinery and micro-generation
- removal of the annual uplift multiplier
- a business taxation review with forward plans to reducing share of business rates income as a proportion of overall business taxation.
Dr Adam Marshall, executive director of policy at BCC, said:
“The recent focus on changing ‘who controls what’ is the wrong approach when the government has still failed to address deep-seated problems with the current model.
“Business rates hit companies hard before they turn over a single pound, and discourage investment in premises improvements, plant and machinery at a time when we should be encouraging investment in supporting future growth.”