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Eversheds comment: Well conceived change to UK business rates structure would ease retailer burden

  • United Kingdom

    03-12-2014

    Commenting on potential measures on business rates to be announced in today's Autumn Statement, David McGuirk partner and rates expert at law firm Eversheds, says:

    "The business rates system has come under serious scrutiny and criticism in recent years. The upwards hike in rates levels which coincided with the start of the financial crisis has undoubtedly contributed to the economic woes of many property owners and occupiers, including many retailers. A well conceived change in the structure could certainly assist to ease the burden and should be welcomed by all. However, whilst a positive move, it will be unlikely on its own to be enough to improve the fortunes of the retail sector, and continued public spending in the shops will be key.

    "The period of higher rates levels has also seen a rise in the number of schemes by building owners and occupiers to avoid paying rates altogether, some legitimate and others less so. Any change in the structure would do well to address the more dubious of these schemes."

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