Business Rates to be devolved in England

Significant barriers to reducing rate bills at this time

27 November 2015

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In his Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday 25 November 2015, Chancellor George Osborne announced that local authorities in England will be allowed to keep the rates they collect from business and they will have the power to cut business rates to boost growth. By the end of the Parliament, local government will retain 100% of business rate revenues to fund local services. Business Rates have already been devolved to Wales.

Andrew West, Director of Rating said, “Councils already have discretionary power to reduce rate bills, but in my experience, they all too rarely do so. I can see significant financial barriers to councils reducing rate bills at a time of substantial cuts to public sector budgets.”

Cooke & Arkwright have been providing rating valuation advice to The Welsh Rugby Union Limited (“WRU”) and Millennium Stadium plc for many years. They were recently successful in achieving substantial reductions in the assessments of the Millennium Stadium, covering both the 2005 and 2010 rating list. These negotiated reductions yielded savings of c.£3.5m which, crucially, allows the WRU to re-invest in rugby throughout Wales. They advise the WRU across the group portfolio including the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The valuation issues across the WRU portfolio are complex requiring a high level of understanding of the funding and finances of professional sport in Wales. Cooke & Arkwright’s experience and understanding of these issues and application to the rating valuation have yielded these substantial negotiated reductions. The WRU and the Millennium Stadium entrust our work to organisations with the required levels in experience and expertise in dealing with these complex issues. I am glad to say we have this expertise in Wales. I would have no hesitation in recommending ratepayers making use of this Welsh based expertise.

Steve Phillips, Group Finance Director, Welsh Rugby Union Group