Revealed: who pays largest business rate bills in the UK
A mix of airports, energy suppliers and retailers have the unenviable honour of topping this year’s list for the biggest business rates bill in the UK this year.
More than £705m will be handed over by the 50 largest business rate payers in the UK for 2019 – up 0.4% of the previous year, according to the latest research.
Heathrow Airport takes the top spot with an eye-watering rates bill of £117.96m – this is actually down from £122.15m a year earlier. As an international business and transport hub the airport also attracted other big ratepayers in its orbit, such as the British Airways’ Terminal 5 building, BA’s world cargo terminal and the airline’s engineering base. They have bills of £13.8m, £22.4m and £13.1m respectively.
The North West features in the Top 50 with Manchester Airport taking the No 11 slot with a bill of £13.91m. Gatwick and Stansted airports also land on the list.
London department store Selfridges had the highest bill among the retailers (No 7) at £17.4m, narrowly beating Harrods, which will pay £17m. John Lewis Oxford Street store in London also appears on the Top 50, with a rates bill of £10.4m.
Amazon just makes it on list for its London head office, which has a rates bill of £7.2m covering the 600,000 sq ft offices. Tax campaigners may take a little cheer from that even if their corporation tax bill doesn’t quite meet expectations. It also goes to show the one big advantage of business rates – as a property tax it is impossible to hide buildings and so cleaver dodges simply don’t apply. The only way to get your rates bill down is to look at the various relief schemes to see if you qualify, and ensure your business premises are being assessed fairly and accurately by the VOA in the first place.
Back to the list, former nuclear energy site Sellafield is the most expensive power station, with a bill of £26.6m – down on the £27.6m a year ago. Also, on the list is British Steel for Scunthorpe site, that could leave a £11.7m hole in the Treasury’s finances unless a buyer can be found.
Finally, even the British Secret Service can’t be that secret when it comes to business rates. Its HQ at Millbank is on the list at No 37 paying £9.065m to its Government colleagues down the road.
TOP 50 BUSINESS RATEPAYERS IN ENGLAND & WALES RATES PAYABLE 2019/20
1) Heathrow Airport Ltd, Hounslow -£117,955,934
2) Gatwick airport ltd, West Sussex – £30,441,600
3) Sellafield limited, Cumbria – £26,632,658
4) Sizewell B Power Station, Suffolk – £24,002,156
5) BA Engineering Base, Heathrow Airport – £22,421,960
6) Heysham 2 Power Station, Morecambe, Lancs – £19,474,560
7) Selfridges, Oxford Street, London – £17,407,280
8) Harrods, Brompton Road, London – £17,066,680
9) Vodafone optic telecommunications network England & Wales -£15,266,160
10) The Channel Tunnel (within the UK), Dover – £14,112,000
11) Manchester Airport, Manchester – £13,910,400
12) British Airways, Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport – £13,807,400
13) HSBC, Canada Square, London – £13,749,760
14) BA World Cargo Terminal, Heathrow Airport – £13,133,581
15) BBC, Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London – £12,953,280
16) BAA Stansted Airport, Essex – £12,136,320
17) JP Morgan, Bank Street, London – £12,114,880
18) Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk – £11,934,720
19) Home Office, Marsham Street, London – £11,894,800
20) British steel, Brigg Road, Scunthorpe, Lincs – £11,663,079
21) Esso Refinery, Fawley, Southampton – £11,168,640
22) Francis Crick Institute, Midland Road, London – £10,742,000
23) UBS, Broadgate, London- £10,611,740
24) Drax power station, Selby, North Yorkshire – £10,546,802
25) St Pancras international station, London – £10,480,000
26) Goldman Sachs, Fleet Street, London – £10,447,750
27) Hinkley Point B Power Station, Somerset – £10,442,880
28) John Lewis, Oxford Street, London – £10,432,840
29) Credit Suisse, Cabot Square, London – £10,176,080
30) Citibank, Canada Square, London – £10,092,240
31) Google, Pancras Square, London – £9,400,560
32) The University of Manchester, Manchester – £9,318,960
33) Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, London – £9,159,520
34) Hartlepool Power Station, Cleveland – £9,157,680
35) Barclays bank, Canary Wharf, London – £9,123,832
36) Port Talbot steelworks, Port Talbot – £9,081,440
37) The Security Service, Millbank, London – £9,065,200
38) The British Library, Euston Road, London* – £8,850,360
39) National Grid, Isle of Grain, Kent – £8,779,680
40) Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, London – £8,666,960
41) Pembroke Power Station, Pwllcrochan, Pembroke – £8,651,040
42) Heysham 1 Power Station, Morecambe, Lancs’ – £8,426,880
43) Beaufort International, London Riverside, London – £7,791,880
44) Jaguar Land Rover Ltd, Lode Lane, Solihull – £7,706,160
45) KMPG, Canada Square, London – £7,629,440
46) Allen & Overy, Brushfield Street, London -£7,598,000
47) PWC, Embankment Place, London – £7,529,880
48) Metropolitan Police, Empress State Building, Lillie Road – London £7,461,760
49) Linklaters, Silk Street, London – £7,226,140
50) Amazon, Worship Street, London – £7,157,840
*registered charity, eligible for 80% mandatory relief.
List compiled by Altus Group
One casualty of the Brexit uncertainty and the prorogation of Parliament has been the much-anticipated business rates reform legislation.
Several English local authorities are banding together to lobby the Government to close a loophole they claim is costing millions in lost revenue each year.
The Welsh Government has published its summary following a 12-week consultation on potential legislative changes that would affect business rates at its next revaluation in 2021.