Business rates handcuffing business growth

BOSSES at a North East accountancy firm are urging businesses to sign a Downing Street e-petition which is demanding a total re-think on business rates.

Clive Owen LLP is backing a campaign to institute a root and branch review of the business rates tax.

The campaign has been launched by fellow Kreston International members, Bishop Fleming, which believes the tax is currently ‘handcuffing businesses’ ability to invest or grow.’

Alan Moore, a tax partner with Clive Owen LLP, said: “We’re keen to back our fellow Kreston members on this campaign and to see an immediate revaluation process to rebalance business rates.

Matthew Lee, Bishop Fleming’s Bristol-based managing partner, said:  “In our view, this is an iniquitous tax – based on property values that the Government chose to ‘freeze’ at their highest level, and guaranteed to rise every year by being the only tax that is index linked to inflation. 

“UK businesses pay the highest business rates in Europe – more than Germany and France combined.  How can that fit with the Government’s declared aim to make the UK more competitive than our EU rivals?” asked Mr Lee.

He was equally scathing about the Government’s decision to postpone a scheduled property revaluation, on which business rates are based.

“It’s obvious that the scheduled revaluation would have seen a reduction in business rates, because property values have declined in recent years.  Our belief is that the Treasury took a cynical decision to postpone that revaluation to avoid a reduction in business rates revenues”, said Mr Lee.

The firm online petition, calling for a “root & branch reform of Business Rates”, can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/57038