Laura Sharman 29 October 2020

Think tank proposes 10-point plan to reform business rates

The valuation of business rates should be devolved to local government, under proposals published by the Centre for Cities.

The think tank argues there are four ‘fundamental problems’ with the current business rates system. It argues they do not reflect local economic realities, they are too complex, they disincentivise investment and do not incentivise local growth.

Centre for Cities has published a 10-point plan for reforming the ‘broken’ business rates, putting local economic growth at the heart of the system.

The proposals include devolving the valuation process to local government, reforming the system of discounts and incentives, and allowing local authorities that participate in a new pooling system to retain 100% of business rate revenue growth.

The report stated: ‘Many of these recommendations are inspired by changes made to the Dutch model in the 1990s, which faced very similar challenges to those that the English system faces today.

’The Dutch experience, which is referred to throughout this briefing, demonstrates that it is possible to successfully reform a centralised, slow and cumbersome business rates system and turn it into a more responsive and fair tax that takes into account actual local conditions and rewards local economic growth.’

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