An investigation of the impact of 2017 Business Rates Revaluation on independent high street retailers in the north of England

Paul Greenhalgh, Lynn Johnson, Victoria Huntley

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Abstract

Purpose
Many national retailers have complained about increases in business rates tax bills since the 2017 revaluation. What impact has the 2017 business rates revaluation had on independent high street retailers in market towns in the north of England? The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach
The study uses Valuation Office Agency rating list data to determine rateable value and business rates payable for independent high street retailers in eight northern market towns either side of the 2017 rating revaluation. The data were analysed using business rates matrices to reveal the impact of the new rating list on independent retailers in the eight locations.

Findings
Analysis reveals that the majority of independent retailers in the northern market towns sampled have experienced reductions in both the rateable value of their premises and business rates payable. Increase in the rates relief threshold has extended relief to almost half of the independent retailers in the study, most of whom receive 100 per cent relief.

Practical implications
Charity shops receive at least 80 per cent rates relief which means they are able to afford to pay higher rents. This “sets the tone” for landlords setting market rents in that location which are then used as comparable evidence by the VOA when determining rateable values at revaluation further polarising the gap between rate payers and those to are exempt.

Originality/value
Focussing on independent retailers on high streets in markets towns in north of England, this study provides an alternative perspective to the orthodox view of business rates revaluations having a negative impact on retailers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-254
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Property Investment & Finance
Volume37
Issue number3
Early online date29 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2019

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