Rate reductions for 60% of NW firms, says minister

Most business in the North West will see falls in business rates next year as a result of revaluation, the Government claimed today.

For the 40% of firms in the region due to pay more the Government is putting in place a £2bn relief scheme to limit and defer increases.

The overall effect of the business rates revaluation in the North West on bills taking into account the transitional relief scheme is as follows:

North West

Total

Offices

Retail

Industry

Others

After transition

After transition

After transition

After transition

After transition

-1%

-1%

0%

-3%

0%

The £2bn rate relief scheme means that after inflation the maximum increase next year for small properties will be 3.5% and for larger properties it will be 11%.

Local government minister Barbara Follet said: "As a result of revaluation in the North West 144,500 business properties will see an overall reduction in their rate bills next year, with some of the largest decreases in sectors such as industry and manufacturing."

Across the UK, as a result of revaluation and the relief arrangements, one million business properties will see an average decrease of £770 in 2010/11.

Firms in London and the South West could on average see respective increases of 3% and 1% after transitional relief.

Tony Baldwin, director in the rating department at GVA Grimley in Manchester, commented: "The impending Rateable Value increases we expect to see in the South will undoubtedly have a major effect on some businesses in that part of the country. However, for the most part, Northern occupiers will be inadvertently subsidising any increase in rates bills faced by Southern businesses, by foregoing a reduction in their own rate liabilities from 1 April 2010 onwards.

"The Government will introduce transitional arrangements to 'phase in' large changes in Rateable Value both upwards and downwards, over the 5 years of the Revaluation. So those businesses in the North, where Rateable Values may have come down, will not see the immediate benefit of this change reflected in their Rate bill. Instead, their bill will be 'phased downwards' over a number of years to its realistic level to plug the financial gap of rates bills in the South being 'phased upwards'."

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