Over 20,000 hospitality businesses waiting on business rate appeals

30 August 2017 by
Over 20,000 hospitality businesses waiting on business rate appeals

Over 20,000 hospitality businesses are still waiting for the outcome of their business rate appeals seven years after they were first lodged.

According a Freedom of Information request made by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and tax expert Altus Group, 20,490 operators are awaiting complete responses from the Valuation Office.

BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said that the revelations painted a chaotic picture and called on the government to invest more in aiding struggling hospitality businesses.

She said: "We now know the full extent of the rates crisis facing the hospitality industry. This is further compounded by the lack of clarity concerning the new appeals process for this year's increases. Through no fault of its own the Valuation Office is underfunded and thus overrun. The government needs to act now for our members and the wider hospitality community."

David Shuttleworth, vice-president of Altus UK, added that it remained a challenge for many operators to stay profitable.

He said: "The recently published Valuation Office Business Plan commits the agency to settling all 2010 Rating List appeals by 31st March 2019 so businesses may have nearly two more years for their retrospective appeals to be concluded. This at the same time that increases in rates as a consequence of the 2017 Rating Revaluation are impacting on SMEs in particular."

According to the BHA the average increase in rateable values on hotels for the 2017 revaluation was around 23%. Areas hardest hit included Westminster, which saw average rises of 39%, and Eastbourne, where rates rose by 45% on average.

The Valuation Office is currently working with HMRC to combat a surge of complaints, with over 300,000 outstanding appeals awaiting conclusion.

Earlier this month a separate Freedom of Information request, made by Colliers International, found that 72% of users of the new rates appeal system were dissatisfied with the service, with some labeling it "almost impossible to operate".

Meanwhile, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has criticised the slow pace with which local authorities have allocated millions of pounds worth of business rate relief.

According to its survey 22 of 25 local authorities were yet to develop a scheme to develop discretionary relief worth £31m to restaurants and pubs.

Business rates are likely to be a key talking point at BHA's annual hospitality and tourism day in parliament on October 10.

Business rates appeal system labelled "impossible to operate" >>

ALMR: pubs and restaurants get "no access" to £300m business rates relief fund >>

Trump's Turnberry hotel receives £110,000 business rates rebate >>

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