Business Rate Payers to Defer Paying
In a last minute attempt to stave off pressure to ease the business rate burden of a 5% hike starting from 1st April, the Chancellor announced in the Commons the afternoon before that new legislation will be brought in with immediate effect allowing business ratepayers in England to defer paying 3% of the 5% rise until the following year and the year after (so until 2010/11 and 2011/2012). However, the latest bills just issued will nevertheless have to be paid now through to June, and only at that time can ratepayers apply to the Billing Authority to defer payment- i.e. to defer 60% over two years. This will therefore amount to an apparent interest free loan of barely a 1 penny in every £1 of Rateable Value this year. Thereafter the advantage is likely to be overshadowed if not lost by the large rises expected to be faced by ratepayers from 1st April 2010 when the 2010 Rating Revaluation kicks in. Whilst intended to generate equivalent total revenue for the Chancellor across England and Wales, the South East and especially London is then expected to be hit hardest with the highest rate burden increases made worse by levies for the Olympics, Crossrail, the Police levy for the City and the increasing use of special localised levies.