The controversy around the new business rates, and how damaging it might be to businesses, rages on. Much of the news has focused on what the likely impact will be on retailers, but education is another sector that is having to ready itself for the impact.
Schools are worried about their rates, but do they need to be?
Beneath the Sound and Fury
“The current rates controversy has a momentum of its own now,” observes Paul Giness, of The Beattie Partnership. “There are accusations, rebuttals and projections all floating about, which are adding to an air of uncertainty.”
Paul points out that his research suggests that the impact of the new business rates on businesses will vary from sector to sector and region to region.
“For example, retailers in London seem to be bearing the brunt,” he states. But Paul also advises that schools are already facing budgetary constraints, so any upward shift in their rates can have a ripple effect.
“If you look at other financial pressures on schools, such as staffing costs, you can see why the idea of a rates increase is hardly welcome”
Whereas the UK Government has put out figures estimating that, overall, state schools will get a reduction in rates of around 2%, other research by property consultants suggests that in some areas schools could face rises of between 40% and 45%.
“There will be regional imbalances,” Paul comments. “If you look at schools as part of the wider economic outlook, there is the danger that this will exacerbate difficulties and make things more challenging overall.”
What Should Schools Do?
There is a new appeals process following on from the 2017 revaluation, and Paul advises that all businesses, including schools, should check the details entered for them on the ratings list.
“Any discrepancies or inaccuracies may form the basis for challenging the assessment of your rateable value,” Paul concludes. “Schools may have had refurbishment work, or other alterations which can affect the use of buildings, for example.”
Paul continues to keep a clear-headed approach, cutting through the panic and the sensationalist headlines, to look rationally and analytically at schools’ rateable values and to see what can be done.
To speak to him about your rateable value, please contact The Beattie Partnership on 0161 228 2224 or visit bepart.co.uk.