Nigel Poad, MD of Insite Asset Management, continues to press for a change in the business rates regime in England and Wales through his role as chair of the BCSC Local Government Finance Committee. The committee is working with other key stakeholder groups such as the BRC and BPF to influence the Government on not only the need for short term improvements on the administration of business rates but also the longer term reform of this punitive tax.
“Business rates is the only business tax that doesn’t respond to fluctuations in the wider economy – being index linked it can only go one way. The postponement of the revaluation in 2015 was a politically driven decision and has simply extended the period of pain felt by many retailers throughout the country. The primary beneficiaries are the supermarkets and central London office occupiers, neither of whom asked for such support. In the meantime, the rates payable now forms a disproportionately high percentage of retailers overall occupancy costs, in many instances significantly exceeding the rent and in some instances making a shop unlettable even at zero rent!
The face of retail has changed dramatically with the advent of the internet and the consumer knows she or he can get a very good deal online and retailers no longer need shops to sell their wares. As such a business tax based on the idea that the occupation of a property is essential to the success of a retailer is now no longer appropriate. This is a problem that the government has to get a grip of quickly and make the business rates a tax that is more responsive to the changes in our sector and distributed more equitably.”