MP predicts rural revolt over business rate rises

 MP Glyn Davies says rural communities risk being “destroyed” if increases under the latest business rates go ahead after April 1.

Rural businesses with large footprints such as equestrian centres and vineyards face increases under the latest revaluation. According to campaigners, the rental values that business rates are based on do not always reflect the health and wealth of the actual company that occupies the space.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) sets the values of properties based on their rental value on the open market every five years. However pressure on rural businesses has led to calls for the current “bricks and mortar” valuation method to be overhauled.Mr Davies, the MP for Montgomeryshire, called for greater transparency on how the rates are calculated.

“I can see this becoming a very, very big issue. There is going to be a bit of an uprising. If we see businesses closing … it will destroy local communities,” he told The Times.

“Just what are the instructions to the district value assessors? They have got to go on actual rental value, not some notional rental value based on space.”

Defending the revaluation, the VOA says it approaches all classes of property fairly and equally, and always uses recognised methods to set rateable values. Certain properties are exempt from business rates, including agricultural land and buildings, buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people or buildings used for religious worship.

The Department of Communities and Local Government added that no small business will see an increase of more than 5% this year, while £3.6 billion is being spent on relief.

A spokesman said: “Nearly three-quarters of business in England will see no change, or even a fall – including 600,000 who from April will have their bills cut altogether.”