Office rates relief 12th February 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged 100% business rate relief for businesses affected by the floods devastating much of the UK at present as part of a package of financial help being offered to homeowners, businesses and farmers.

The rate relief was announced at today’s Prime Minister’s Question Time. Cameron also said affected businesses would be able to defer their tax payments. It is unclear exactly how the rate relief will be applied but it is thought the government will say that properties that are unoccupied because of flooding will not have to pay rates for a period of up to three months.

Jerry Schurder, partner at Gerald Eve, said: "We need urgent clarification of a number of issues about how it will be applied such as the period of time for the relief and how for instance do you define a flooded property. However, it is good news as it will take a way a lot of the uncertainty around rates in these circumstances."

David Ford, regional director at ratings firm CVS, said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement on rates relief for flooded businesses will be welcome news for many but it’s another knee jerk policy move in an area that requires stronger and better administration.

“Business rates should not be reached for and used as a sticky plaster solution by the Government when it’s under pressure to be seen to be on the side of business. What’s needed is a more comprehensive improvement of the business rates system so that it can be more responsive to situations like the flooding as well as being fairer, more transparent and more efficient, especially when it comes to business rate appeals and settlements.”