Only three cases at appeal stage under CCA system so far this year
We all know the wheels grinds slowly when it comes to Government machinations, but eight months after the new ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ system was introduced, only now are the first appeal cases due to be heard.
Valuation Tribunal Service CEO Antonio Masella has announced that just three rates appeals had reached the ‘appeal’ stage so far.
Under the new system, businesses must submit a check, wait for a response from the VOA, challenge the VOA’s response, wait for a response from the CMA, and then finally move the case to the appeal stage where a tribunal hearing will be set.
The latest statistics from the VOA show a 95% drop in the number of appeals registered compared to the same period in 2010, when rateable values were previously re-set. Obviously, there may be some method in their madness in getting the numbers of appeals down, but it doesn’t spell good news for businesses.
The VOA says the new CCA system is about “getting issues resolved effectively at the right level without the automatic need for an appeal” and that delays were due to businesses being sluggish in progressing their own cases.
It sounds a bit rich to blame businesses for slow progress and I am fairly confident that there can’t only be 3 diligent business owners out there desperate to have their business rate appeals heard.
One of the first cases to reach the final stage apparently is Justin Whittaker’s MJ’s Premier in Oldham. He said his success at getting to appeal stage was down to being “a pain in their backside” by chasing, questioning and demanding action from the VOA.
I’ll be watching for the results of these three cases with interest but don’t expect this tiny trickle of appeal hearings to turn into a deluge any time soon.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is the latest big name to call on the government to extend the business rates holiday beyond April 2021.
The retail and hospitality sectors are mobilising the troops with dire warnings that thousands of business are at risk if the rates holiday isn’t extended beyond April 2021.
The pandemic has led to more than 50,000 extra appeals being lodged against business rates by Scottish firms alone.