The Treasury has finalised plans to review business rates across England, with results due ahead of next year’s Budget.
The announcement comes just days before Chancellor George Osborne is set to announce the final Budget of this parliament.
It follows an Autumn Statement promise to review rates, which came alongside a pledge to reduce the cost of rates in particular for small and high street businesses.
When it was first launched, the business rate review was not expected to alter the total sum collected from businesses, but instead review whether firms with similar turnovers could pay different figures based on the size and location of their premises.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander says: “Our system of business rates was created nearly 30 years ago. Since that time, the worlds of commerce and industry have changed beyond recognition. I’ve been impressed by the representations made by the business community and I know that business rates are a considerable cost.
“The Government has taken measures to help businesses by capping rates and introducing reliefs for smaller businesses. But now the time has come for a radical review of this important tax. We want to ensure the business rates system is fair, efficient and effective.”
The review is expected to published later today on the Treasury’s website, and will ask 15 questions on the calculation of business rates, as well as calling for evidence of a need for change and proposals of alternatives.
But shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury Shabana Mahmood hit out at the plans as “a reannounced review” and promised to cut and freeze rates for 1.5m small business properties.