Business Rates Revaluation

MQT on 2017-07-13
Session date: 
July 13, 2017
Question By: 
Peter Whittle
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


To ask the Mayor what assessment he has made of the impact of the 1 April 2017 business rates revaluation on businesses in London's West End.


Answer for Business Rates Revaluation

Answer for Business Rates Revaluation

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Since the publication of the draft rating list on 30 September last year, GLA officers have been monitoring the impact of the 2017 revaluation on business ratepayers across London including the West End.

Rateable values in Camden and Westminster - the two boroughs covering the West End - increased by an average of 29% and 25%. However, in Westminster the average increases in valuations for the retail sector were around 60% and for licensed premises, restaurants and other businesses linked to the hospitality sector the average rise was around 80% - compared to an average of less than 15% for offices in the borough.  Due to the Government's aggressive transitional relief scheme it is estimated that over 4,000 larger properties across the two boroughs saw rises in bills of around 45% overnight on 1 April this year. It is also estimated that the collective business rates bill for ratepayers in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street alone increased by around £75 million from £160 million to around £235 million this year.

I lobbied successfully with the London Business community and London Councils to persuade Ministers to amend the transitional relief scheme which phases in increases in bills. This concession will save London businesses around £90 million over the next four years - with a large proportion of the firms benefiting being located in the West End.

I also welcome the limited additional relief schemes announced by the Chancellor in the Budget  last March. However, they were announced very late in the day after 2017-18 bills had been prepared by many billing authorities - despite the fact that Ministers were well aware of the problems arising from the revaluation last autumn. It is also disappointing due to implementation delays that nearly four months on the vast majority of eligible ratepayers in London have still to see the resulting reductions applied to their bills. The schemes announced in the budget remain of course a mere drop in the ocean compared to the £1bn plus increase in business rates faced by ratepayers in London as a result of the revaluation. 

I will also be pushing for the administration of business rates to be fully devolved to London government prior to the next revaluation in 2022 similar to the arrangements already in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We cannot allow the huge rises faced by London firms including  those in the West End to be repeated - and this could be avoided if the Government fully devolved decisions over business rates to the Mayor and London boroughs.