Last month it emerged Business Secretary, Vince Cable had been lobbying fellow MP’s and subsequently called for the Government to review its decision to delay the rates revaluation for two years but this plea was discounted by the House of Lords earlier this month.
Two amendments were tabled to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill in the House of Lords that would have required the government to re-think its plan to delay the five-yearly revaluation of business rates to 2017. However, and despite the last minute attempt by Vince Cable, the House ratified the controversial clause 25 which states the delay will still go ahead.
It had been hoped that the government would consult with the property and retail industries to revisit the issue but now the plan remains to postpone the five yearly review from 2015 to 2017 has rightly re-ignited the fury from the property and retail industries with concern continually growing over the impact on businesses and our high streets.
The data used to justify the Government’s delay had also been questioned by Lord McKenzie of Luton who wanted to “get to the bottom of the disputed figures before the postponement is approved in the growth and infrastructure bill”.
The VOA published data claiming that up to 800 businesses would benefit from the delay, but the Government admitted that, of these, data was missing for 520,000.
There is concern with the lack of prior consultation and the questionable data input which renders the decision incorrect. We can only hope that there is some fresh thinking and that the issue is once again re-visited.