In an unprecedented move, the Government has announced that it will legislate against Covid 19 being a valid Material Change of Circumstances (MCC), impacting the level of Business Rates Assessments. This move comes after detailed negotiations over many months between the Valuation Office (part of HMRC) and Agents representing Ratepayers, in which the Government had agreed Covid 19 was a MCC. These discussions were put on ‘pause’ by the Valuation Office on 22nd December and since then agents and ratepayers have been waiting on the VO to re-engage. It is now clear that the Government has got cold feet and decided they could not live with the scale of Business Rates reductions which would have resulted from the discussions and decided, in an unprecedented move, to legislate retrospectively instead.

Maughan Mitchell find it incredible that the Government would prevent businesses, hard hit by the pandemic, from getting the help they need and that they take this action so late on, a year after MCC appeals started to be made and months after detailed negotiations have been undertaken. We hope the new grant scheme being introduced by the Government, to replace the Business Rates appeals, will be increased to a sensible level to provide sufficient support for businesses impacted by the pandemic.

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