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MPs launch inquiry into business rates

The Treasury select committee has launched an inquiry into business rates as part of the Housing, Communities and Local Government committee’s wider inquiry into the high street.

Chair of the Treasury select committee, Nicky Morgan said the two departments were expected to publish the terms of reference in the new year. The inquiry will focus on additional measures set out in the 2018 Budget, and the impact this has had on high street businesses.

The departments had a joint committee hearing yesterday afternoon (19 December) and will use the final evidence session for the Communities Future High Streets 2030 Inquiry.

Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at real estate data provider Altus Group, “warmly welcomed” the Committee’s intervention. He said: “The Budget measures, whilst great for independent retailers with smaller premises, did nothing to help those major retail and hospitality businesses who are reducing their estates and headcount often citing high rates as a contributory factor.

“The long term unfairnesses for those large premises who’s property value has fallen sharply but are then denied the commensurate tax reduction must be addressed by this inquiry and, hopefully, this inquiry will also take the bull by the horns and see how to best level the tax playing field with large online only retailers.”

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