In 2012/13, the Government raised £21.8 billion in revenue from business rates charged on 1.75 million properties. £22.4 billion is projected to be raised in 2014/15. 53% of the rateable value attributed to rateable property is assessed on properties having a rateable value of £150,000 and above. Rates is big business. Which is why, no doubt, with less than two weeks to go before Parliament is dissolved, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury have decided that we need to talk. 

On 16 March HM Treasury issued a discussion paper as part of a business rates review. 

Although both ministers are about to board their battle buses for the election campaign they “want to take the opportunity to undertake a thorough, wide-ranging and robust examination of the existing business rates system and to explore options for future reforms”. 

The discussion paper poses 15 questions requesting evidence and comment as to how business rates work. The deadline for final contributions to the initial stage of analysis is 12 June 2015. 

We can only hope that whatever the political complexion of the new government this review will be of value and enable reasoned, evidence-based policy decisions to be taken. 

Source business rates review:

Terms of reference and discussion paper HM Treasury March 2015.