Rate-appeals backlog 'sending shops to wall'
Retailers and their advisers have called for urgent action to deal with a huge backlog of business rate appeals, warning that delays in refunding struggling shops could put them out of business.
Appeals to HM Revenue & Customs' Valuation Office stand at almost 250,000, according to latest figures, and campaigners say a growing number of retailers are being forced to the wall before they find out whether they have been overcharged.
The British Retail Consortium told The Independent that delays were causing some shops serious cash-flow problems at a time when the consumer squeeze and competition from online giants such as Amazon are leaving them on a knife edge.
A BRC spokesman said: "We are aware of significant backlogs since the revaluation in 2008 and the new rates which came in in 2010. We get a lot of feedback from retailers who tell us they are having problems claiming money back. This is going to causing a big cash-flow problem, and it is often only the larger firms which have the resources to try appealing."
The BRC estimates that increases to business rates – property taxes that are linked to the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation – have cost retailers £500m over two years. The 2013 increase is set to cost them an extra £175m.Companies running bricks-and-mortar shops say it is an impediment to them as they compete against internet retailers, which aren't significantly hit by the tax.
CVS, an agency that assists firms with appeals, said the backlog was now "weakening the financial health of a large number businesses". It called for "urgent action to clear the backlog and give firms a fighting chance".
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Budget 2015: George Osborne to axe subsidies for higher income earners in social housing
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...