Independent retailers have hailed a new consultation into the revaluation of business rates as a step in the right direction but have cautioned that councils who now have full autonomy of their collection must be held to account.

The month long government consultation – it opened on September 28 and will close on October 26 – was announced by Local Government Minister Marcus Jones who said that the revaluation will ensure bills accurately reflect changes in the property market.

Responding, NFRN Chief Executive Paul Baxter said: “Business rates are the largest burden that small independent retailers have to bear so it is encouraging to hear that most businesses will be unaffected or even better off as a result of the revaluation while transitional relief will be available to those facing bigger bills.

“This comes on top of the measure announced in the spring budget that 600,000 businesses across the country will pay no business rates from April next year.

“Making the business rates system fairer will encourage independent retailers to expand and invest in their business so this is definitely a step in the right direction,” Mr Baxter continued.

“For that reason we welcome the opportunity to participate fully in the consultation. However, the revaluation of business rates is just one aspect of this consultation and we will be calling for councils to be held to account when they apply their calculator.”

The NFRN will be making its official response in the coming weeks.

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