To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate has he made of the number of businesses at each stage of the business rates appeal process in the latest period for which figures are available; and what estimate has he made of the average waiting time for a business rates appeal to be decided.
19 November 2021
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) published official statistics on non-domestic rating challenges and changes, including Check, Challenge, Appeal (CCA) figures on 28 October 2021:
Table 1.1 shows there were 7,200 Checks and that 63,780 Challenges were outstanding as of 30 September 2021 in England.
These figures represent the number of cases, not the number of businesses. Each Check or Challenge could involve more than one business, and a business could have more than one case.
The vast majority of outstanding Challenge cases are related to COVID-19 and are on hold pending legislation. The Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill sets out, with retrospective effect, that matters attributable to COVID-19 are not to be taken into account in respect of determinations to alter 2017 rating lists in England. Once this comes into effect, these cases will be closed.
The average timeliness of resolving Check and Challenge cases between 1 April 2017 and 30 September 2021 in England, was around two months for Checks, and nine months for Challenges. This figure excludes those COVID-19 related Challenges which are on hold.
Clearance of outstanding Challenge cases remains a priority for the VOA. The VOA are prioritising hardship cases and non-COVID Challenge cases approaching 18 months old.