Long delays for rates appeals.

Companies may face delays of up to three years when attempting to settle appeals against new business rates, according to a leading chartered surveyor. The comments follow last week’s government announcement that businesses appealing against rates will have to follow a new procedure. Local government minister Hilary Armstrong said the procedures would enable businesses to be better informed 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 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,’ he added. ‘Can this really be an improvement?’

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