Fears rise over business rates hikes as government unveils new valuations

The news follows the government’s release of new draft lists of business rates valuations.David Hudson, director in the rating department at property consultant LSM Partners, said: ‘There are some areas where ratable values are going up astronomically, and others where they’re falling slightly.’

Hardest hit will be prime office and shop locations in the South East where rates bill could almost double over the next five years.

The impact will be mitigated by transitional relief limiting rises to 5% for small premises and 12.5% on large locations. But Hudson said firms need to take advice before acquiring property that could saddle them with huge bills.

The Federation of Small Business claimed that its members were carrying the burden of tax and a rise over the rate of inflation would still hit hard.

A spokesman said small businesses in the North West were seeing property values rise almost in line with the South East. ‘That’s going to be very difficult for small firms,’ he said.

Local government minister Hilary Armstrong said the new rating levels were ‘not’ about raising more money from taxes.

She said: ‘The total revenue raised by business rates will remain constant in real terms. This means that rate bills will fall for many properties, while others will only see a modest increase.’

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