Leader of Denbighshire County Council raises concerns over changes to businesses' rateable value

Cllr Hugh Evans has written an open letter about the new draft ratings list, on which business rates will be based from April. 

On behalf of Denbighshire County Council and businesses in the county, I have raised serious concerns about changes to businesses’ rateable value and the Welsh Government’s future proposals on rate relief.

Traders have been contacted by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) about the new draft ratings list, on which their business rates will be based.

It has been seven years since all non-domestic properties in England and Wales were revalued and the 2017 revaluation will be based upon rental levels on April 1, 2015.

The revaluation will come into effect on April 1.

The Council has raised concerns with the VOA about the extent to which the draft calculations were based on individual business circumstances and how these are evaluated without direct engagement with all businesses in the county.

This revaluation will have an impact on businesses for the next five years, so it is vitally important they are paying the correct rates. 

My concern is that this is an increased burden of worry during a period of uncertainty for businesses.

I am urging all businesses in Denbighshire to check their new draft rateable value online and contact the VOA if they have any concerns.

The Council does not set the rates, the rateable value is assessed by the VOA , through HM Revenue and Customs and the Welsh Government sets the multiplier rate on which business rates are based. 

Denbighshire County Council collects business rates on behalf of the Welsh Government and then returns the funds to them.

I have also written to the Welsh Government about the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme.

The proposed relief scheme for 2017/18 will remain the same as that for this financial year, despite the expected increase in business rates.

The current scheme appears to penalise small and medium sized businesses - which make up more than 95 per cent of Denbighshire’s business base.

I have asked that the Welsh Government reconsiders its stance on this relief.

The Welsh Government’s intention is to bring in a Transitional Relief Scheme to protect small businesses whose bills increase as a result of the revaluation.  Whilst this is welcomed it will only assist a small number of businesses and isn’t as good a deal as small businesses in England will be receiving.

It was encouraging to see the announcement in December by the Welsh Government that an extra £10million worth of help will be provided to businesses as part of an extra special relief scheme.

Officers from Denbighshire County Council will be finding out more about the detail of this scheme and communicating it to businesses in the county.

I have also asked for more clarity as to how the business rate issue will evolve over the next six months.

For more information on the revaluation or to check your draft rateable value online visit www.gov.uk/guidance/valuation-office-agency-and-business-rates-non-domestic-rates

Cllr Hugh Evans

Leader, Denbighshire County Council

Posted on Thursday 5th January 2017