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Business rates appeals jump

stairs 906720 640The number of businesses waiting for challenges over increased business rates to be resolved has risen by more than a third in three months, according to new figures.

Data from the Valuation Office Agency shows that 118,390 non-domestic properties in England have started the process to appeal business rate bills since revaluations came into effect on 1 April 2017.

On 20 September some 12,580 non-domestic sites were waiting for challenges against business rates to be addressed, up 35% from 9,260 at the end of June 2019.

‘If more challenges continue to be received than resolved and the settlement rate does not significantly improve, then this situation will become chronic,’ says Alex Probyn, president of UK expert services at ratings advisory company Altus Group.

‘It will also mean that far too many cases will clog up the independent valuation tribunal system, which is exactly what the new system was designed to circumvent.

‘This is still salvageable, but more resource must be found now, and the next government must look to change the law to reduce the maximum response from 18 months to six months so that meritorious cases are resolved quickly.’

The British Retail Consortium says that companies could be owed £1.4bn over the five years to 2022 through the appeals process.