Campaign to reverse business rate decision

Ben Batchelor-Wyman

Ben Batchelor-Wyman

One of the West’s biggest high street retailers has backed calls for the Government to scrap the planned postponement of the business rates revaluation.

Discount retailer Poundland – with 27 branches in the region – has thrown its weight behind Colliers International’s campaign to reverse the decision by signing an online Government petition.

Poundland, which operates around 300 stores across the UK, and employs around 10,000 people, said the decision to postpone the 2015 revaluation until 2017 was “reckless” given the decline of the retail market and would only serve to continue the injustice of businesses paying inflated business rates in a depressed climate.

Ben Wall, national portfolio manager at Poundland comments: “Postponing the revaluation only serves to delay the structured recalibration of the high street, which is needed for it to survive. I strongly believe that the Government is making a reckless decision given the fragile state of the retail sector.”

“Our business relies upon the estimates of business rates during the period of the rating list, which are key to the financial models on which we base our decisions on opening new stores, relocating and extending existing properties.

“The postponement of the revaluation until 2017 will surely have unintended consequences and will mean that, in some situations, new store viability will be affected. Not only that, but with each new store employing around 30 people, our ability to create jobs will be significantly reduced.”

The retailer warned it would also lead to more casualties on the high street, following the collapse of household names such as Clintons, Peacocks, JJB Sports and Comet.

Ratings specialist, Ben Batchelor-Wylam from Colliers International’s Bristol office said there was no logic behind the decision to delay the rating revaluation.

He comments: “Politics leading economics is fundamentally wrong. The government’s proposal to postpone the revaluation seems to be going under the radar not only of the ratings industry but also much of the retail sector.

“Poundland has obviously realised the postponement will impact on many retailers in High Streets across the West who are already struggling and facing financial hardship.

“The revaluation would give relief to a great many places where rents have fallen. To prohibit that liquidity is wrong.”

The proposal to delay the 2015 rating revaluation until 2017 is one of a number of measures being put forward by the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

If implemented, businesses will continue to pay business rates based on property values in 2008, instead of current values, which are considerably less.

Ben Batchelor-Wylam concludes: “The Government seems determined to go ahead with the proposed plan but with enough pressure from business it will hopefully see sense and reverse what is frankly a ludicrous idea.

“This is not a fait accompli. With enough support and backing from business we can get the Government to scrap its plans to postpone the 2015 rating revaluation.”

To sign the e-petition, go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41598

 

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