Responding to the Treasury Committee’s report on the Impact of Business Rates on Business, Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:
“As this report rightly sets out, the business rates system is broken, causing businesses and investment to flat-line. It’s critical that politicians get a grip of this unfair tax that seemingly can’t be challenged. As small firms have spent years managing their way through the political uncertainty, it’s time for politicians to show they back small firms by finally tackling the issues that matter to them.
“There must be a significant reduction in small firms’ rates bills. The high streets discounts rolled out this year have been very welcome. But these will soon come to an end, putting businesses back in the uncertain position they were before – nothing has changed. The relief needs to be extended to 50% or more, making it permanent – and rolling it out to small firms in other sectors.
“The current Check, Challenge, Appeal system is diabolical with the number of challenges progressing falling by 99.3%. Shockingly, it could take up to 950 days- more than two and a half years- for a business to appeal a business rates bill. Unsurprisingly, this means many small firms give up. As highlighted in the report, this is unacceptable.
“The ball is firmly in the Government’s court when it comes to putting forward ways to improve the current business rates system. With a general election round the corner, this report sets out a challenge to all parties and candidates as they vie to be the next Government and in the next Parliament.”