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A look at Business Rates across the Home Nations

With the 6 nations rugby having kicked off with a bang, the ForeView team have a little fun by examining how the home nations compare on the rating field.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all seen a Rates Revaluation take place from 1st April 2023. In England and Wales this is based on rental values as at 1st April 2021, in Scotland it is pegged to rental values as at 1st April 2022 and in Northern Ireland based on values in October 2021. All four countries have committed to a three year rating list with the next Revaluations due to take place in 2026.

Who were the winners and losers at the Revaluations? Who has cleared 99.1% of 2017 List Appeals? Who still has a backlog of over 30,000 appeals? How do the appeal numbers stack up under the 2023 List?

Lets start by matching them up in terms of total 2023 Rateable Value….

Given that there are over 2 million rating assessments in England compared to circa 127,000 in Wales and circa 258,000 in Scotland it is no surprise to see that England dwarfs Wales and Scotland in terms of total Rateable Value with a whopping 87% of the overall pot. First blood to England.

What was the impact of the Revaluations?


England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all saw a Revaluation take place effective from 1st April 2023. Ratepayers in England fared worst with a 7.3%  overall increase in total Rateable Value from £63.2bil to £67.8bil. Ratepayers in Scotland were better off with a 5.3% overall increase in Rateable Value £7.2 billion to £7.6bil. Meanwhile Welsh ratepayers are the winners in this department as they saw a much more modest increase of just 1.3% taking their total Rateable Value pot to £2.46bil.

How have the different Asset Classes fared at the Revaluation?

The biggest losers at the Revaluation were ratepayers on industrial properties in England who saw an average increase of an eye watering 27.8%. Perhaps not a surprise to see such increases on the brand new distribution warehouses but there will be plenty of ratepayers on small older industrial stock who will have been blindsided by these increases. Ratepayers of industrial stock in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales also fared badly with double digit increases.  

Who were the biggest winners? Those paying on retail premises in England and Wales who saw an average reduction in Rateable Value of 10%, the continuation of retail rates relief and the removal of downward phasing on their bills. There will be many in the retail sector will feel that a 10% average reduction doesn’t go far enough and it will be interesting to analyse the appeal numbers by asset class over the course of the rating list.   

How many appeals have been cleared under the 2017 List? What remains outstanding?

As at 2nd February 2024, there remains 31,120 Challenges outstanding in England compared to 4,370 outstanding in Wales. Only 636 challenges remain outstanding in Scotland. If you want early resolution of your appeal then it looks like Scotland provides the most favourable playing field. Our research shows that 6,350 Challenges were cleared in England in the last quarter between 2nd November 2023 and 2nd February 2024. With 31,120 that leaves plenty of catching up to do for our colleagues in the Valuation Office Agency in England.

How do the early appeals numbers look under the 2023 List?

We’re now almost 12 months into the new rating lists and the appeal numbers looks pretty modest thus far compared to the numbers received under the 2017 List. The early numbers demonstrate the Valuation Office is well placed to resolve anything of a factual matter at Check stage. Until larger numbers of Challenges are received the Valuation Office will no doubt  continue to focus their resources on the 2017 backlog before turning their attentions to 2023. All is still to play for under the 2023 List!

 

The rates multipliers, relief and exemption schemes and appeal systems work slightly differently in each country. For more information on any of the above or discuss any rating matters across all four countries please do get in touch with our specialist team.

 

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