Millions could be saved by making appeal on rates

SPEAKING OUT CVS chief executive Mark Rigby
SPEAKING OUT CVS chief executive Mark Rigby

Portsmouth station closes as part of bridge maintenance work

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BUSINESSES across Portsmouth are missing out on millions of pounds by not appealing their rateable value, according to a business ratings specialist.

Specialists from the firm Commercial Valuers and Surveyors (CVS) say there are 4,039 businesses across Portsmouth that are yet to appeal their rateable value, which equates to £78.1m.

All non-domestic properties have a rateable value, which broadly represents the annual rent that the property could have been let for on the open market in 2008.

CVS says Portsmouth firms could make £9.7m of savings, should they decide to lodge an appeal with a specialist rating agent.

CVS chief executive Mark Rigby also has called for ‘stability, predictability and fairness’ in rates reform, pointing to a survey of ratepayers which reveals 65 per cent of businesses want to see the government keep five-yearly 

He said: ‘Any reform to the system must protect the predictability and stability of this significant overhead for ratepayers.

‘CVS has been saying this for some time and these research findings clearly show that stability and predictability is what businesses want.

‘Increasing the frequency of reassessments could expose businesses to uncertainty in payments, while imposing an unsustainable burden on the Valuation Office Agency.’

Mr Rigby added: ‘The business rates system is not fundamentally broken.

‘The government should not be pressured into introducing new and unproven methods. The focus should be on creating a less adversarial system which is more transparent and equitable, and which doesn’t leave businesses confused and frustrated about business rates.’

CVS’s survey of more than 250 ratepayers revealed concerns that government could introduce more frequent reassessments of property values.

About 65 per cent of respondents favoured retaining the predictability of five-yearly revaluations.

Of the respondents, 10 per cent supported two-yearly and 18 per cent supported three-yearly revaluations.

The survey also showed that more than half of businesses have limited understanding of how their business rates bill is calculated.