System blocked by rate appeals

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Government tactics have been blamed for creating “an enormous log jam” of more than 300,000 business rates appeals.

Richard Wackett, national head of rating at property consultant Lambert Smith Hampton, says unnecessary red tape and the use of “every trick in the book” had led to major delays in Valuation Tribunal appeals: “With an estimated one third of a million separate rating appeals outstanding, some of which date from the 2005 rating list, hard-pressed businesses face a bitter fight for justice in the face of a non-domestic rating regime which has actively stacked the cards entirely in its own favour,” he added.

LSH accuses the Government of delaying appeals in the hope businesses will drop them, ignoring professional advice, withholding evidence and subverting negotiations.

Richard Wackett added: “The reality of the situation is that genuinely relevant rental evidence is thin on the ground because today’s market is depressed and the Rateable Values used to determine occupier rate liability were set in 2008, prior to the onset of the current recession. Those valuations are, to a great extent, irrelevant in light of the impact of recession.

“All parties should refine appeal procedures, share evidence and strive to achieve a rapid conclusion rather than delaying the outcome of an appeal.”