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MHCLG responds to business rates concerns

Wednesday 12 February 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has responded to Propertymark’s concerns about the level of business rates faced by agents on the high street.

Raising the concerns of members, Propertymark wrote to The Rt Honourable Andrea Leadsom MP urging her to extend the small business retail discount.

Both lettings and estate agents fall under the category of ‘offices’ for the purposes of determining business rates to be paid to their local authority, despite being the bedrock of the local high street.

Our letter of 16 January 2020, urged Leadsom in her capacity as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to extend the small business retail discount to include estate and letting agents in order to retain and promote growth, not only of the sector but the local high street.

The letter

The response from MHCLG states:

The Government is committed to backing small and medium-sized enterprises and particularly those on our high streets and in our town centres, enabling them to grow and create jobs.

Although the discount does not apply to a range of other business types, the retail discount is just one part of the Government's wide-ranging business rate reforms.

The Government recognises the important public benefit that other businesses may bring to the communities in which they operate and believes that it is right that support is available to those businesses through the local authority. Local authorities have been given greater flexibility to support businesses, through the Localism Act 2011. The Act enables local authorities to offer business rate discounts as they see fit.

Decisions on granting local discounts are a matter for authorities. A ratepayer may therefore wish to raise any request for rate relief with their local authority, who will be best able to consider any request and consider the benefits the business brings to the local community in which it operates before making any decision.

WHAT PROPERTYMARK IS DOING

Propertymark will continue to lobby the Government to ensure the industry’s voice is heard.

As part of our budget representation which was submitted to HM Treasury, we once again stressed our concerns on business rates and asked for Government to make the retail discount available to both lettings and estate agencies in order to retain and promote growth not only of the sector but the local high street.

If you have evidence of the impact business rates are having on your agency that you would be happy to share with us to strengthen our case, please email us at policy@propertymark.co.uk.

PROPERTYMARK RESOURCES

ARLA Propertymark has a range of resources available to members in order to arm them with knowledge and help them comply.

Resources include:

  • Fact sheets
  • Tenant Fees Toolkit
  • AST agreements
  • Digital leaflets

Log in to the member's area below to access the suite of information.

Log in to members area