The Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee has launched an inquiry into business rates to scrutinise how Government policy has impacted business. The Committee will examine how business rates policy has changed, including business rates retention, alternatives to property-based taxes, such as the proposed digital services tax, and how changes to Business Rates could impact businesses.

The inquiry will look at how changes in Central Government policy have changed the business rates system. It will also look at how the current business rates system is operating and the associated impact on business.

The inquiry will cover the following:

  • The impact of changes in Business Rates policy since 2017 on businesses, in particular:
    – the changes in reliefs and allowances
    – the ability of businesses to pay
    – The relationship between Business Rates and the behaviours it drives in business.
  • How the current Business Rate system measures up against the following pillars of good tax policy:
    – Fair
    – Support growth and encourage competition
    – Provide certainty
    – Be coherent.
  • The economic justification for a property-based business tax:
    – The impact of Business Rates on rental prices
    – The impact of Business Rates on property prices
    – Alternatives to property-based business taxes, such as the proposed digital services tax
    – The problems associated with property-based business taxes
    – The impact of changes (proposed and actual) of Business Rates on Local Authorities and Councils, and the High Street.

The Inquiry is now open and the committee are inviting written submissions. The closing date for written submissions is 2 April 2019.

We will be responding to make clear that the key problems with the business rates system are that the Uniform Business rate is too high and that the business rates system is too complex.