Chancellor’s Statement to the House of Commons Yesterday - Disappointing Yet Again Says Colliers - as the Chancellor Continues to Ignore the Business Rates Question

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The Chancellor’s economic update to the House of Commons yesterday was disappointing says John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers International, in the fact that yet again it failed to mention the “elephant in the room “ - either business rates reform or any policy concerning an extension of the business rates holiday for the beleaguered retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.


“We are in dire times” continued John Webber, “and the Chancellor did not deny this. Our economy has shrunk 6.1% from before the crisis and 800,000 jobs have been lost since February. And the Chancellor spelled out that it will get worse before it gets better.”

Research last week from the British Chamber of Commerce suggested that the restrictions caused by the latest national lockdown will lead the country on course for a double-dip recession in the first quarter of 2021. And the Federation of Small Businesses has said at least 250,000 UK small businesses are set to fold without further help from the government. “The message from business is clear- the level of support is just not enough for businesses to face this emergency.”

One area the Chancellor seems determined to ignore are business rates payments still hanging over heads of the distressed retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Businesses in the sector are expected to pay around £12 billion in business rates from April if there is no extension of the current rates holiday (Retail paying £7.625 billion and Hospitality/restaurants £4.375 billion). Given that the major supermarkets, who are still currently trading, pay around £2billion of this bill,  that means that non- essential retail and the restaurant/ hospitality sector, currently closed due to lockdown, will need to find around £10 billion to meet their business rates liabilities from the end of March. This is totally infeasible for many businesses.

Webber continued, “The Government’s latest grant schemes*, are all very well, but we are hearing that to some extent they are a post code lottery- with some boroughs processing grants at much greater speeds to others- and some local authorities have not even started yet. The position on State Aid restrictions has also not been confirmed, so many businesses are unsure of what they can claim and are still missing out.”

“Whilst we welcome the financial support for businesses through the grants system - essential given the  latest Lockdown- we ask the Chancellor for some clarity going forward- both in terms of State Aid restrictions and business rates reliefs post March 2021, particularly for the struggling retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. It is disappointing that yet again he has missed a golden opportunity to tackle this issue and has put his head in the sand that all will be Ok in the Spring.”

 

*one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that had to close worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.

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Related Experts

John Webber

Head of Rating

Birmingham

I have over 30 years’ experience in the rating industry and lead a 90 plus rating team at Colliers International.  When I took over responsibility for the team in 2005, it consisted of only a dozen people and has now grown into one of the leading rating advisory teams in the country.  I am a member of Colliers International Management Executive as well as sitting on the company’s promotion panel. 

I am regularly called upon by the national media to give my views on a range of business rates issues and I am vocal commentator on the 2017 Revaluation.

I started my career in the Valuation Office Agency in Kidderminster.  I joined Gerald Eve in 2000 where I spent 10 years before moving to Gooch Webster (now Colliers International). I sit on the National Retail Panel of Rating Surveyors Association which provides guidance on how the RSA town committees work with the VOA and valuation matters.  John sits on the RICS Rating Diploma Committee having passed the prestigious qualification in 2014.

Philip Harrison and I founded 'Accurates' in 2007, the Collier's Compliance and Audit team, which although forms an integral part of the Rating Team is now a leading brand in its own right.

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Charlotte Williams

Director of PR & Communications| UK & EMEA

London - West End

I am an experienced PR & Communications professional, a brilliant communicator with a track record in influencing multiple stakeholders. I am a 'do’er', not a delegator. I see the big picture but I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty and approach projects in a collaborative manner working in cross-functional teams within a matrix Global business. I execute with excellence and care about the teams that I lead.

As Director of PR & Communications in the UK and EMEA I am responsible for:
• Developing and executing internal and external communications strategy for the UK and EMEA business.
• Developing and implementing strategic and tactical communications plans to build the brand and promote key messages across all media - print, broadcast and social
• Advising senior leadership on communications reputation management and developing a media engagement programme that supports key business lines.
• Media evaluation and reporting objectives, targets and successes across the business.
• Leading on the delivery  of strategic communications programmes for all our M&A activity in EMEA

Management:

  • Manage the UK in-house PR team
  • Provide strategic direction to the PR teams across EMEA
  • For a year (2013/2014) I was Acting Head of EMEA Marketing & Communications (maternity leave cover)
  • I am a member of the EMEA Marketing Leadership and Global PR & Social teams
  • I lead the EMEA PR Leadership team

 

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