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Business rate change protests increase in volume

17 February 2017

A group of the UK's largest employers have joined together to protest about the government's changes to business rates.

Among the concerns raised is government's aim to reduce the number of appeals it has to deal with.

A letter has been sent to the government with 13 signatories, including the British Property Federation, CBI, the British Retail Consortium and the Federation of Small Businesses.

The group is objecting to the government's intention to dismiss appeals by those objecting to incorrect valuations, deemed to be within certain limits, according to the BBC.

At present, the government has not revealed the acceptable margin of error that will guide decisions on which appeals are dismissed.

The BBC report says that expert commentators believe it could be as much as 15%.

If this becomes fact, it could see companies forced to pay more business tax than they should, without the right of appeal if the sum is less than 15% in error.

The latest protest follows a please earlier this week from pubs and restaurants to Chancellor Philip Hammond to reduce the impact of business rate rises in his March budget.

However, a spokesperson replying on behalf of the government has described the claims as "simply false".

The intention behind reforming the appeals process is easier to understand and that "generous business rate reliefs" will result in many businesses receiving a reduction in business rates, with 600,000 not paying any rates at all, said the spokesperson.

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