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In March 2017, Labour’s Munsur Ali and Jason Pritchard spoke to small businesses in Portsoken and collected signatures for a business-led petition. The petition, which was started by the East End Trades Guild, called on the government to halt the implementation of the new business rate hikes. The final petition, which gathered a total of 10,562 signatures, was handed in to 10 Downing Street by local small business owner Paul Gardner of Spitalfields alongside John Biggs Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Philip Glanville Mayor of Hackney, and Meg Hillier MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch.

Read on for an update on business rates from EETG organiser Krissie Nicolson

Update on Business Rates

The government has not yet given clarity about when and how all the changes announced in the budget on 8th March will be made and the election will definitely slow everything down. Thanks to our close relationship with the FSB we are able to obtain information as soon as there is any.

What we do know now:

For the £300 million fund for Local Authorities, the government consultation closed and London gets the lion’s share of the money. Waltham Forest is set for £1.9 million, Hackney £7.1 million, Tower Hamlets £8.1 million, City of London £9.49 million. It is now up to councils to design their own schemes and consult on them with local businesses. We are in the process of approaching councils on this. News on the new cap on business rates is expected next week.

Advice on challenging your revaluation:

Check, Challenge and Appeal (CCA) is the government portal for appealing against valuations. The system works as follows:

Check – First, the ratepayer formally checks the details of their assessment with the valuation officer (VO). This is the start of the process and sets what is called the “material day” by which the assessment is to be considered. This in turn affects the date from which any amendment to the assessment may be effective.

Challenge – Once the check is concluded, a very detailed proposal may be made to the VO, setting out precise details and evidence to support the alteration.

Appeal – Assuming the challenge concludes without the resolution desired by the ratepayer, the ratepayer may appeal to the Valuation Tribunal for England. There is a charge of £150 to take any appeal forward to this stage. The regulations confirm that the first two stages of the process could take up to 30 months.

If you have not already done so, our advice is to use this tool only if you have seen a big hike in your rateable value and to log on and check your details with the VOA. This first stage should lay out all the information the VOA have on a property including size, comparable properties and other segmentation so you can see if there is an error before undertaking an appeal which may take a good deal of time, energy and money without yielding results.

The government tool – https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates

RICS Guidance and Ratings Agencies:

If you choose to employ a ratings agency or surveyor to make an appeal on your behalf be careful! 94% of all appeals on the 2010 list were made by someone acting on behalf of ratepayers. The VOA has a backlog of 250,000 cases from the 2010 ratings list. This suggests that any appeals won’t be dealt with, with any great haste and the industry has become so large a number of unprofessional and unscrupulous firms have shot up who take advantage of small businesses.  If you use an agent to act on your behalf make sure they are RICS accredited.

Source: https://goo.gl/HVaAe1

top-roundel

“The EETG is a community of small independent businesses. As well as offering goods and services our members provide social spaces, sustaining relationships between neighbours and making our streets safer and better places to be.”

To find out more about the East End Trades Guild visit http://eastendtradesguild.org.uk/

See EETG trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUBqd16zsrA

To become an EETG member: https://goo.gl/46fCSX

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