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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber Warns Business Rates Review Must Deliver Real Change

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Danny Alexander CC BY 2.0 Cicero Group)A review of the Business Rates system in England was launched today, with its findings due to be published before the Budget in 2016.

The review, unveiled today by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, will “pave the way for changes” to the current system, which has been in place since 1988.

However, the outcome is expected to be fiscally-neutral, meaning that the total sum collected from businesses will not change.

The review was first announced in December's Autumn Statement.

George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the East Midlands Chamber, the Chamber of Commerce for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, said: “The Business Rates system as it currently stands is outdated, fundamentally-flawed and in desperate need of reform, so it’s good to see that this long-awaited review has been launched.

“However, it must deliver the reforms needed to transform the system into something which fairly reflects a business’ ability to pay if it is to make any meaningful difference.

“Business Rates are a huge drag on business, hitting companies of all sizes long before they turn a profit.

“The current regime is anti-growth. It does not incentivise or encourage investment or expansion.

“It is based on a property value that is set at a particular point in time and is liable to go out of date very quickly. Any new system of Business Rates needs to be fair and equitable to businesses, irrespective of their location or sector.

“Companies need certainty about current and future forms of taxation so they can get on with making investments and generating jobs and wealth.”

Header image on news page CC BY 2.0 Ken Teegardin