By Graham Heilbuth
NO one expected the Chancellor to mention business rates in his Spring Statement delivered on 13 March.
The announcement that he is to bring forward the next business rates revaluation from 2022 to 2021 was, therefore, something of a surprise.
From 2022, business rates revaluations were changing to three yearly anyway so it will be 2021 for the next revaluation then 2024, and so on.
We have not seen the detail yet but we would expect the 2021 revaluation to be based on rental values at and around April 2019, which is just around the corner.
In practical terms, the rents that ratepayers agree to pay at and around April 2019 will set the basis of rateable values that will apply from 2021.
Of course, the effects of this on business rate bills will depend on whether there are transitional arrangements from 2021, limiting both increases and decreases in rates bills.
Given the substantial drop in appeals made since the introduction of Check Challenge Appeal, the Chancellor must now believe that the VOA has the resources to cope with an unplanned shorter revaluation period.
Perhaps someone should remind him that there are around 200,000 appeals still outstanding from the 2010 rating list and VOA staff are being cut again.