Reforms to business rates appeal system prompt fears over delays

The comments follow a government announcement yesterday that businesses appealing against rates will have to follow a new procedure.

Local government minister Hilary Armstrong claimed the new procedures would enable businesses to be much better informed and would receive more certainty about when appeals would be resolved.

Meanwhile chartered surveyors Gerald Eve claimed the new system would be ‘terribly confusing’, particularly for small businesses who would face long delays.

Jerry Schurder, head of rating at Gerald Eve, said: ‘The simplicity of the current rules – under which an appeal can be made at almost any time – will be replaced by a range of new time limits.’

The Valuation Office Agency has set the new rateable values, will handle appeals and will prepare an initial three-year timetable for settling these.

‘This means that while some companies will have their appeal settled in 2001, others will have to wait until 2004. Can this really be an improvement to the appeals process?’

Fears rise over business rates hikes as government unveils new valuations

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