Business rates move welcomed in Lancashire

Chancellor Philip Hammond enjoys a joke during his Spring Statement
Chancellor Philip Hammond enjoys a joke during his Spring Statement

Lancashire business chiefs have welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s move to bring forward business rates revaluations.

The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce were commenting on a Spring Statement which left members “heartened” about the state of the UK’s fiscal health.

Chamber chief executive Babs Murphy said: “We are pleased that the government has listened to our calls to make revaluations more frequent.

“Switching to a three-year-cycle will go some way to reducing the huge changes in rates bills that clobber firms across the UK, and enable them to plan their growth strategies with greater confidence.”

“However, a system that responds more frequently to changing economic conditions must also be simpler for firms to navigate. The current system already generates a huge number of appeals, and if it is not made easier for companies, more frequent valuations would simply make this backlog mushroom.”

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Lancashire-based FSB said: “FSB has long called for more frequent business rates revaluations. By delivering on their promise to make these a reality, the Government could make the rates regime fairer.”

He added: “The Chancellor has sent a clear message to UK boardrooms by committing to ending the late payment crisis that destroys 50,000 businesses a year.

“We look forward to working with the Chancellor and his team to eliminate the scourge of late payments.”

Mr Cherry also welcomed £80 million of much-needed dedicated funding for small firms who are keen to take on an apprentice.

Jane Parry, tax partner at PM+M accountants, said: “As expected, the Spring Statement was a bit of a non event which was refreshing as I know many businesses didn’t want another ‘mini budget’.

Tony Medcalf, tax partner at MHA Moore and Smalley, said:“I think business owners will be relieved that there are no new major initiatives to have to try and get their head around.”