“Tens of thousands” of businesses across London, including restaurants, bars and hotels, could face a £3bn return to business rates next April without “discerning targeted support”, property advisor Altus Group has warned.
It comes as the Treasury wrote off business rates bills for this current financial year in March, in a bid to negate the economic impact of the pandemic. The move “fully exempted” all occupied retail, leisure and hospitality premises, irrespective of their size.
Premises eligible for this discount included properties used for the sale of food and drink, as well as properties used for accommodation.
Altus Group warned that with the retail discount set to end on 31 March next year, 66,374 business premises across London’s 32 boroughs and the City will be returning to normal business rates liabilities totalling £2.79bn from 1 April for 2021/22.
Robert Hayton, head of property tax at Altus Group, said: “Whilst next April cannot signal a return to pre-pandemic levels of property taxes, it must strike a balance with public finance affordability.
“Adjusting rateable values used to calculate bills, for those properties under appeal, reflecting the profound effect of the pandemic in values ahead of new bills being issued next year is part of the solution which will need to be supplemented by additional targeted support to where it is most needed.”