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Join campaign for rates reform

By Herald Express  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

MANAGING PARTNER : Matthew Lee of Bishop Fleming

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SOUTH Devon businesses are being urged to spend a few moments to voice their demand for changes to Business Rates.

The call comes from accountancy firm Bishop Fleming which is driving a campaign for a 'root and branch review' of Business Rates.

With offices in Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Torquay, Truro, and Worcester, Bishop Fleming is championing a call for Government to reform Business Rates, which are higher for UK businesses than any EU competitor — and the only tax that is guaranteed to rise by inflation and out-dated property valuations.

Matthew Lee, managing partner of Bishop Fleming, said: "This is an iniquitous tax, based on property values that have not been changed since the peak of the property boom.

"The Government cancelled the scheduled revaluation, that would have resulted in reductions in Business Rates for most West Country businesses.

"Our own research reveals that most West Country businesses are now seeing their Business Rates bills matching their rental costs: this was never the intention, when Business Rates were set to be less than half of rent bills."

UK businesses pay vastly more in Business Rates than any EU competitor, and the tax is unique in being index-linked to inflation –– the only tax guaranteed to rise.

Matthew added: "Right now, the Government has launched a consultation process aimed at informing the plan for a 'root and branch' reform of Business Rates. This is exactly what we are demanding, but the consultation period has a very short deadline.

"It's crucial that business owners take a few moments to do two things:

contribute to the consultation at www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-administration-review-discussion-paper

Sign the Downing Street e-petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/57038

"If businesses do not grab the opportunity to contribute to this consultation process, or sign our Downing Street e-petition –– the Treasury will win."

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