On 1 April business rates are expected to rise as a result of the 2010 business rates revaluation. Whilst businesses may be able to appeal a new higher rateable value, the appeals process has been limited and in effect businesses may only have one attempt at appealing their 2010 rating.

On the same day, the Greater London Authority (GLA) is introducing a new business rate supplement.

The Business Rates Supplement Act 2009 gave power to county councils, unitary authorities and the GLA to levy a local supplement on business rates of up to two pence in every rateable pound to fund local economic development. To ease the burden on smaller businesses, only those with a rateable value of more than £50k will be liable to pay the supplement.

The GLA has recently announced that it will use these new powers to help fund Crossrail. As of 1 April 2010, it will impose a business rate supplement on non-domestic ratepayers in all London boroughs at the maximum rate of two pence in every pound of rateable value, although the GLA claims that the Crossrail supplement will effect fewer than one in f ve London businesses.

If a local authority plans to raise more than one third of the cost of its proposed development through the business rates supplement, it must hold a ballot, in which all those businesses who would have to pay the supplement have a right to vote – so it is theoretically possible for local businesses to defeat the proposals. It remains to be seen how many other local authorities will choose this method to raise funds and how local communities will respond in the event of a ballot.