Engineering alliance joins CBI asking for business rates reform in CSR & Budget

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Engineering alliance Actuate UK organizations support the CBI statement on Business rates, which, together with other Trade Associations, is calling on Government to take long-term action in the forthcoming Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review.

In particular, they are asking for reform to address current Business rates system’s inefficiencies to be acted on through this Autumn’s policy decisions and:

  1. Reduce the overall burden of the business rates system to unlock business investment in net zero and support levelling-up. Allow business rates liabilities to fall in line with property values, and without further increases in the headline rate, equivalent to a reduction in the uniform business rate for these businesses. Ensure firms can instantly benefit from any fall in property values following a revaluation, while maintaining a phased transition to a higher bill where property values increase.
  1. Increase the frequency of business rates revaluations and ensure rates adjust quickly to economic changes to ensure business rates reflect firms’ ability to pay.
  1. Create a ‘Greener’ business rates system to support the government’s net zero ambition, unlocking investment to make buildings more energy efficient and decarbonising property stock, starting with exempting green Plant & Machinery and new technologies that directly link to the ‘green’ agenda, including solar PV and heat pumps, from business rates.

Steve Bratt, CEO of ECA and lead on Post-Covid business environment group for Actuate UK commented:

As Government and business are united in a mission to Build Back Better and Greener from the global pandemic, we need to create the right business environment for businesses of all sizes to thrive. A reform of the business rates system – which has been in the cards for some time – can address long-standing barriers to investment in greener technologies, contribute to the net zero targets and unlock business contribution towards the levelling up agenda”.

It is worth noting that, according to the CBI, in the current system, if a business invests, for example, in solar panels, or other plant & machinery to improve their property, this increases their rates bill. As these investments take several years to yield a return, the immediate increase in rates often makes the investments unviable.

We therefore support the CBI in asking the Government to make decisions this Autumn which could lead to real change and set the parameters for a new, modern system on business rates that rewards investment, turbo charges net zero and kickstarts growth for the next decade.

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