Stockton's Infinity Bridge

Government’s discussion paper on the national business rates system

12 June 2015

The Association has welcomed the opportunity to comment on HM Treasury’s discussion paper and whilst recognising the rationale for local government being more self-sufficient financially by retaining and re-distributing the taxes which they collect, the response highlights a number of concerns and areas of potential development for the current system.

As an Association we have consistently advocated, as part of a fairer and more equitable local government funding system, for a number of improvements to the way in which business rates are administered and funded. In this response we have advocated for a better functioning business rates system, with consideration needed to create greater incentives for areas facing the greatest challenges to grow their economies. Additionally, the Safety Net requires reform to make it fairer and more sustainable, whilst a fairer and more stable appeals process would help to address the appeals backlog. Finally, improved information and data sharing is required in order to provide a seamless assessment and collection service, whilst the creation of a statutory gateway to permit information sharing by the Valuation Office Agency would be a building block to improving the appeals process.

The Association has invited Government representatives to work with the North East to further examine and discuss the information and experiences on which the response is based. HM Treasury’s review will report ahead of the 2016 Budget.

Read the full consultation here.