London should stop complaining and just get on with it

Stuart Hicks, Manchester Office, Director - Dunlop Heywood

By Stuart Hicks – Director

I saw another sob story this week about how hard London businesses are lobbying for a fairer deal on business rates but the main message is still being missed when it comes to the revaluation.

Apparently around 40+, including the Federation of Small Businesses London and New West End Company, have teamed up with the London mayor Sadiq Khan to call for a full review of the effectiveness of the business rates system.

My response? We have just had one!

The group is calling for a more realistic transitional relief proposals following the revaluation of rateable values, which will see the values in some districts in London jump by up to 400%.

My response? Yes, welcome to the real world that the rest of the country has been living in since 2008.

London’s businesses will have to pay £885m more in total annually due to the revaluation, according to estimates and Deputy mayor for business, Rajesh Agrawal is quoted as saying: “With the uncertainty being created by Brexit, the last thing they need now is a hike in business rates on the scale the Government is proposing from next April. It is clear that we need far stronger transitional arrangements to soften the immediate impact and give businesses in the capital chance to plan ahead.

My response? Brexit has no bearing on business rates and a chance to plan ahead? They have had years of lower than normal business rates and knew the day of reckoning in April 2017 was coming so they have had years to “plan ahead”.

Agrawal also asks for greater devolution over London’s business rates including local control over future revaluations, so “we can invest more in supporting jobs and growth in London, which in turn stimulates the UK economy as a whole.”

My response? I can’t say there has been a whole lot of trickle-down effect from London towards the North West since the revaluation postponement.  My view to London businesses is very similar to the Remainers who want to challenge the Brexit result –  stop bleating on and accept it – the rest of the country had to when the revaluation was announced in the first place.