Business rates and the Budget
The recent budget, taking place shortly before the General Election, was never likely to contain many fundamental changes. One announcement that would be pleasing (and long overdue) to those who own and occupy commercial premises however is a review of business rates.
As part of the review process the Government has published a consultation paper and is inviting comments on a wide range of questions. The consultation paper can be accessed by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/business-rates-review-terms-of-reference-and-discussion-paper
The consultation period will close on 12 June 2015 and it is expected that the conclusions of the review will be reported in advance of the 2016 Budget. This leaves open the prospect of reforms being announced early in the next Parliament. While it is perhaps not controversial to suggest that the system of business rates is in need of reform, the method of reform is likely to be hotly debated over the next twelve months and it of course remains to be seen whether the outcome of the election in May and the composition of the next Government will impact on the proposed review and reform.