With a further national lockdown and the Chancellor announcing additional financial relief for certain sectors, we urge all businesses to check their eligibility so they do not miss out, as well as ensure they have their position protected by contesting their rateable value. The later of these is particularly important in respect of properties that have not been provided with any targeted relief, such as offices.
The main initiatives business should be pursuing are;
Rateable Value appeals – The pandemic has radically changed the way in which property can be occupied and there is an argument that it has adversely impacted on rateable values for certain sectors. Alongside other members of the Rating Surveyors Association, Sanderson Weatherall have been progressing discussions with the Valuation Office Agency in relation to this. As things stand, it is only businesses that have contested their assessments that are likely to benefit from any reductions that may be agreed.
Reliefs & Grants – Certain properties, such as those in the retail and leisure sector have received 100% rates relief in the 2020/21 year and, in addition, various grants have been available since the first national lockdown. It was announced on 5th January that, following the latest national lockdown, there will be one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property and a £594 million discretionary fund made available to support other impacted businesses.
Please note that both of these initiatives are unlikely to be available retrospectively and regulations in regard to appealing rateable values mean that they have to be contested during the event. We therefore urge all occupiers to ensure that they have contested their rateable value with the VOA as soon as possible.
Should you require advice, please contact your local business rates contact.