Rates ‘twin blow’ hits resort business

David Ford of CVS
David Ford of CVS
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Blackpool’s 6,500 businesses are being hit by a rates double whammy which cost them £55m last year, according to a commercial surveyor.

The business rates are calculated on a combination of rateable value - last set in 2008 at the peak of the economy - and a snap shot of the Retail price Index, says Commercial Valuers and Surveyors.

But the RPI chosen to set the rates was Septembers 3.2per cent rather than last month’s 2.6 per cent.

CVS said sadly business will not feel the benefit of the inflation fall and are urging firms to lobby to get the method of calculating business rates changed and also to appeal over their rateable value. CVS figures show that only eight per cent of Blackpool firms have appealed for a change in their rateable value which could cut this increasingly large overhead.

And it says the recent Retail Price Index (RPI) announcement at 3.2 per cent will add £1.76 m to Blackpool business costs as of April 2014.

David Ford, regional director of CVS, said: “September’s 3.2 per cent increase puts even more pressure on businesses, especially those in the retail sector, who are struggling to pay their rates bills.

“This drop of 2.6 per cent, while positive for many is yet another blow for businesses who are already paying ‘over the odds’ rates on their premises. It is a clear reminder that the current business rates system is working against business and needs to change. Improvements need to be made to make it fairer and more responsive to current business conditions.

“There has been a lot of discussion of the best ways to achieve that. Simple changes would be to align increases in business rates with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – a more stable indicator of inflation – and base the annual rise in business rates on an average of CPI from the previous year rather than a snapshot in time. Reducing the backlog of business rates appeals is much needed too.

These changes would bring more stability to the system, and make it fairer.”

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