Treasury review of business rates - call for evidence

computer

Background

At the 2020 Budget, the government launched a ‘fundamental’ review of the business rates system.

The Treasury has now opened a call for evidence for stakeholders to submit evidence as part of this review.

The call for evidence provides a vital opportunity for all those in the childcare sector to share their views on the current system, how it impacts them and the wider sector.

There have long been calls for childcare providers to be exempt from business rates in England.

The devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales took the decision to make childcare providers exempt from business rates in 2018 and 2019 respectively. The decision to exempt providers was taken after consultation with the childcare sector during which the sector outlined the benefits that total exemption from business rates would have on their business confidence and sustainability.

In England, many providers continue to campaign for business rates exemption as a way of providing enhanced support for the childcare sector and recognising the crucial role they play in our society.

The review provides further opportunity for childcare providers across England to call for exemptions for the sector from business rates.

In 2018, a petition to axe business rates for providers in England received nearly 11,000 signatures.

Read the Treasury's call for evidence

Respond to the consultation online

 

Note on deadlines: The Government is seeking responses to in two phases.

Views on the multiplier and reliefs sections must be submitted by 18 September to inform an interim report in the Autumn.

Responses on all other sections are invited by 31 October, ahead of the review’s conclusion in Spring 2021.


Response guidance for childcare providers

This offers guidance for providers (whether you are eligible or ineligible for rate relief) on which questions and evidence to submit for settings who would like to advocate for the position of ‘no business rates for childcare providers in England’, a move which would align England with practice in Scotland and Wales.

The guidance is also available to download here

Key questions from the survey Advice on how to respond

Q4. How well do current reliefs and exemptions deliver their intended outcomes and satisfy the principles of good tax design? What changes would you suggest to the system?

Consider outlining any evidence you have of how your business is negatively impacted by business rates & that show the limited impact of current reliefs, if any are applicable to you.

Where the question asks, ‘what changes you would suggest’, this is an opportunity to argue that the government should 'make all childcare providers exempt from business rates’.

You may also want to highlight the economic and social benefits of freeing up childcare providers to have additional funds to invest in their provision of early years education.

Q5. How can reliefs be targeted more effectively? How can reliefs and their administration be simplified? (Optional)

Think about submitting evidence from your own experience about how providing business rate reliefs to childcare providers would have a positive impact – how would such a move impact your setting?

You might want to consider outlining how the administration process works for your setting. For some providers, dealing with two separate parties (the valuation office and local authority) for business rates can create an additional burden on time and resources.

Q7. What role should local authorities have in determining business rates reliefs and exemptions? Should reliefs and exemptions be set by central government or set locally? (Optional)

You could use this question as an opportunity to argue that exemptions should apply to all relevant childcare providers and that these exemptions should be set by central government to ensure uniformity of practice.

It may be useful to highlight that in 2015, the government asked local authorities to offer business rate relief to childcare providers and pledged to meet 50% of the cost of doing so as an incentive – but as of 2019, only one council was doing so.

Q13. Do you wish to continue with the rest of the survey?

As it is important to supply as much detailed evidence as possible, consider choosing ‘yes’ to continue with the rest of the survey.

You have until 31 October to complete the second half of the survey.

 

Respond to the consultation online

 


Useful links

HM Treasury’s call for evidence

Respond to the consultation online