REVEALED: Crippling business rates revaluation for Colnbrook’s restaurants, takeaways, hotels and shops

Colnbrook’s warehouses, workshops and factories will all benefit significantly from the business rates revaluation from April.  But the village’s restaurants, takeaways, hotels and shops will be hit hard.

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While the Government has promised that most businesses will see a reduction in business rates this April, 174 of Colnbrook’s 388 business premises will see their base valuation increase.  Some local property valuations actually doubled in October when the Government published provisional figures – but many businesses will be in the dark until new rates bills are sent out.

Colnbrook Views has compiled the pre- and post- April 2017 valuations and found that the change will see a shift in the tax burden locally from logistics and warehousing to the hospitality and retail sectors.

Just as nationally there has been an outcry that large logistics concerns including Amazon will benefit from the revaluation, Colnbrook’s 158 warehouses will also see an average reduction of more than 3%.  24 factories and 38 workshops will see around 8% knocked off valuations.

Property Type Average change % Number of Premises
Stud Farm 134.3% 1
Cafe or Takeaway 85.8% 5
Concrete Plant 72.9% 1
Billboard 67.8% 14
Shop or Retail Outlet 66.6% 28
Cash Machine 62.8% 3
Storage Land 39.0% 8
Mobile Phone Mast 36.6% 10
Hotel or Guest House 32.3% 7
Office 25.6% 60
Community faciliites 16.4% 12
Petrol Station 10.5% 3
Waste Processing Plant 6.6% 9
Warehouse -3.3% 158
Licensed Premises -4.8% 7
Workshop -7.7% 38
Factory -8.3% 24
AVERAGE 13.7% TOTAL 388

The 44% of Colnbrook businesses that will see an increase in base valuations will see an average of 40% added to their rateable value.

Local shops will be hit hard with an average increase of 67%.  Six in Coleridge Crescent have fared particularly badly in the revaluation, all with increases in excess of 80%.

While pubs will generally see lower rates bills from April, cafes, takeaways, restaurants, guest houses and hotels locally will all be suffer.  Jock’s Cafe, the Riverside Cafe, Subway and Fat Boys will see increases of up to 107% on those published by Slough for 2016.

Base valuations are tied to changes in the property valuations and are supposed to happen every five years.  However, the most recent revaluation came into effect in England and Wales on 1 April 2010, based on rateable values from 1 April 2008. Property prices have changed markedly since then and the Government has set out transitional measures to limit the hit in the most severe cases.

In Prime Minister Theresa May’s constituency there has been an outcry over the last few days at hikes in rateable values for retail outlets at a time when rentals have plummeted and many units remain unlet in the town’s shopping centres.

The apparent disparity is due to the archaic approach to determining business rates that links taxes due to property values rather than profit.  But the change means the distribution of tax paid to council services will tilt away from  the most dominant sectors.

The dominance of freight in the local economy remains unchallenged

Sector Average Change % Businesses Share of tax burden 2016 Share of tax burden 2017 Year on Year change Difference in total rateable values
Billboard, Cashpoint, or Communication Mast 55.7% 27 0.5% 0.5% 0.1% 27500
Building & Construction 0.4% 15 2.0% 1.9% -0.1% 12350
Community 16.4% 12 1.0% 1.0% 0.0% 31050
Freight 3.7% 155 48.4% 46.3% -2.1% 92920
Hospitality 32.7% 19 9.7% 11.9% 2.3% 906050
Manufacturing -5.9% 39 10.4% 9.5% -0.9% -118800
Recycling & Incineration 18.7% 12 12.6% 11.1% -1.5% -302300
Retail 54.1% 32 1.7% 2.0% 0.3% 122000
Services 9.6% 53 10.3% 12.5% 2.1% 870095
Storage 13.4% 6 1.2% 1.2% 0.1% 44750
Transport 5.6% 18 2.2% 2.0% -0.2% -26525

Buildings in the parish used for community services are not spared the rates increase, although some, such as the Village Hall and the two empty surgeries, are subject to relief as a result of their charitable status or because they fall below the threshold at which rates become payable.  Colnbrook Primary, however, will see an increase of nearly 40% while Pippins nearly 36%.

This is a 20th century system and in a 21st century economy, it looks painfully out of date.

Yesterday, the shadow business secretary described business rates as a “ticking time bomb” for small companies in England – and said they should be offered emergency help.  Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey said many firms faced “cliff-edge” rises when new valuations take effect in April and that the process had been mishandled.  Andrew Silvester, deputy policy director at the Institute of Directors, described it as: “a 20th century system”, adding “and in a 21st century economy, it looks painfully out of date”.

The government has signalled it may find extra money to help the hardest hit. Many small business owners will be watching next week’s Budget to see if it delivers.

The revaluation adds about £1.7 million to the total rateable value of properties in the parish – increasing from £31.4 million in February to £33.1 million (5.4%).  The total for all commercial property in Slough was £225 million in February.

Assuming that the Government, as it promised, has not used the revaluation exercise as an opportunity to increase the tax on businesses, and has only increased rates in line with inflation, it would appear that the revaluation in progress will make the subsidy that Colnbrook makes to the overall Slough economy even more pronounced than before – even allowing for a small increase for year-on-year inflation.

 

 

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