Chris Lawson, of Lawson Commercial, explains how Uckfield businesses will be affected by the latest review of rateable values and how that will affect the business rates they pay.

Business rates explained – there’s good news for small firms

More of Uckfield’s small businesses will be exempt from paying business rates in the next financial year and that’s very good news, says Uckfield commercial agent Chris Lawson.

But, he adds, Ian Ridley, whose family owns The Highlands Inn, and who was reported yesterday on Uckfield News as being shocked by an increase facing them, probably has a right to be angry.

Mr Lawson writes here about how some Uckfield shops will be affected by any change in their rateable values, sheds light on how business rates are calculated and compares the rise in rateable value of The Highlands with a much smaller rise facing The Station pub in Uckfield High Street.

Confusion

He says:

Generally I think there is a certain amount of confusion amongst business owners over the meaning of rateable value and rates payable.

If your rateable value goes up to a certain figure, that is not what you pay in business rates.  The rateable value is the figure used to calculate the rates payable by multiplying it by a multiplier set by the government.

The government have announced that 900,000 small businesses are being exempt from business rates as from 1st April 2017.  This is generally very good news locally as small businesses predominate.

Those benefiting

If you are a business, whether you occupy a single shop, factory or office and you have a rateable value which is £12,000 or less, from 1st April you will pay no business rates at all.  Previously the figure was £6,000.

If you are a business where your rateable value is greater than £12,000 but has not changed i.e. the rateable value has stayed the same in 2017 as it was in the last assessment, then again you will benefit because the multiplier i.e the pence paid in the pound is going down.

The small business rate multiplier at the current 2016/17 financial year is 48.4p but for the 2017/18 is due to go down to 46.6p.  So if your rateable value hasn’t changed, you will pay less in business rates.

Sliding scale of relief

Properties with a rateable value of up to £15,000 will also benefit from a sliding scale of relief.  The further good news is that the small business (lower) multiplier is now going to be applied on properties with a rateable value up to £51,000 whereas hither to this, the threshold was £18,000.

Of course there are always going to be differences but in general the changes are very good news for the very small businesses in our local area.

No change

Having looked at some of the figures available on the Valuation Office website, it is quite interesting to see the number of rateable values where there is no change.

  • Pepper Dining at 97-99 High Street, for example, a large 60-seater restaurant – the rateable value stays the same at £17,000.
  • 43 High Street, a former gift shop, stays the same at £13,750.
  • Hartfields at 71 High Street is staying the same at £14,500.
  • Costa Coffee, 130 High Street, is staying the same at £19,500.
  • 39 High Street, the former Chatfields the jewellers premises, is staying the same at £16,750.
  • 37 High Street, Clarks shoe shop, is staying the same at £21,250.
  • 55 High Street – Star of Bengal restaurant – going down from £12,250 to £12,000 so they won’t be paying any rates at all.
  • The Canton takeaway at 138 High Street – staying the same at £8,700 so they won’t be paying any rates.
  • Neither will Josefina at 146 High Street as their rateable value stays at £11,750, under the £12,000 threshold.

Small increase

There will be a small increase for the cheese shop at 168 High Street going up from £12,250 to £13,250 and a small increase for Miss Bloomsbury, the flower shop at 166 High Street with the rateable value going up from £9,800 to £10,750.  However, because the rateable value, even though it has increased, is under £12,000, they won’t pay any business rates.

If you take a property like 146 High Street with a rateable value of £11,750, they would have paid £5,687 in business rates without any reliefs in the last year.  Going forward into 2017, they would benefit from the new system and won’t pay any business rates at all.

It is clear that there are some winners as well as some losers in this new system but overall, I would suggest it is jolly good news for people who occupy small, business premises.

Rental values

If you ask the question ‘well why have so many rateable values not changed?’, it is all to do with rental values.

Despite what many people in the general media think, rents for commercial buildings, particularly in our High Streets, have not risen since 2008 and therefore there is no justification for any increases which is why the rateable values have stayed the same.

In some of the other instances, there are only some modest increases.

This is not a comprehensive review of the entire High Street, merely picking on a number of properties and looking on the website to see what the changes are, if any.

The valuing of pubs is a specialist field and it does rather seem that Mr Ridley, from The Highlands Inn has every right to be angry, particularly when you look at the rateable value for The Station, formerly The Cock & Bull in Newtown, where the old rateable value is £51,000 and it is going up to £52,750.

See also:

Family owners of The Highlands Inn shocked by rates rise

Uckfield traffic: long list of where work is needed, says Observer

RIDGEWOOD FIRE: The aftermath

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

How to advertise on UckfieldNews.com

 

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