Shops, restaurants and hotels in Fitzrovia will pay significantly less in business rates from this spring while occupiers of office premises will see their rate bills increase, according to new research carried out by a local business group. But do the findings stand up to scrutiny?
The Valuation Office Agency updated the rateable values (RV) of all business, and other non-domestic, property in England and Wales, in November last year, with the new RVs coming into effect from this April.
The Fitzrovia Partnership Business Improvement District says its research reveals the impact the revaluation will have on local businesses.
“The business rates revaluation was announced recently and we have done a lot of research on what that means for businesses locally,” wrote Lee Lyons, chief operating officer of the Fitzrovia BID, in an email to its members.
“I know that this is not exact for each business but to give an indication of our findings we have seen the following: office spaces are up in RV circa 25 percent, shared office space (co-working) is down c15 percent, retail and hospitality is down c25 percent with the exception of hotels which are showing the largest reduction up to 50 percent of rateable value.”
However, when Fitzrovia News looked at the new RV for a sample of shops and small businesses in the neighbourhood we found the savings to be more modest — and a number of retail premises are actually due to pay more in rates from April.
We found that Tesco Goodge Street, Lidl Tottenham Court Road, and Sainsbury’s Tottenham Court Road will all have an increase in their RV of between one and three percentage points. Planet Organic Tottenham Court Road will see its RV rise by 19 percent.
Marks and Spencer and Argos will see their RV fall by nine and 10 percentage points respectively, and Currys PC World will see the biggest fall with an 18 percent drop in RV.
Most of the small businesses we looked at will pay between four and 10 percent less from April. But a small pharmacy on Great Titchfield Street is due to pay six percent more.
The Fitzrovia Partnership told Fitzrovia News that they focused on its 250 or more members — mostly business with an RV above £160,000 — but they also included some other businesses.
Lyons told Fitzrovia News that their research included “the wider Fitzrovia as we are working with several businesses on the Westminster side of the area, hence giving a more holistic indication of the rates review.
“As part of the offering the BID has a service to fully review the assessments for an individual hereditament/business and challenge with the VOA if the findings demonstrate worthwhile,” he said.
In November the Financial Times reported that high street shops were the big winners from the revaluation shake up, while businesses based in warehouses and logistics centres would see large increases to reflect the increase in online shopping. It said that the rateable value of Selfridges’ store on Oxford Street will almost halve.
This month the Evening Standard reported that shops on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street, Kensington High Street, King’s Road, Knightsbridge and in Covent Garden will pay 30 percent less than previously, according to new research from property agent Knight Frank.
Details of current and future business rates are publicly available from the government’s website.
Fitzrovia News looked at 22 businesses in Fitzrovia commonly used by local residents for their regular shopping. We also included a sample of small businesses providing services as well as some cafes and restaurants. The sample was selected by some contributors to Fitzrovia News and can be seen in the table below.
You can also view our sample list in a spreadsheet here.
House of Commons Library research briefing. Business rates: the 2023 revaluation.