Winter 2020 latest rating news roundup


Business Rates Multiplier Frozen – England
On the 25 November 2020, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, RT. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, announced plans for a one-year spending review of Government spending and income for the 2021/22 fiscal year. His announcement to Parliament did not include any specific mention of business rates, but the supporting document issued by HM Treasury confirms that the spending review “freezes the business rates multiplier in 2021-22”. This only relates to the multiplier for England but will mean that rates paid in 2020/21 will be the same in 2021/22, with reliefs/exemptions to be announced in the New Year.

This means the multiplier for small properties (those with a Rateable under £51,000) will be based on a multiplier of 49.9 pence and for large properties 51.2 pence.

There is yet to be an announcement in relation to the multipliers for Wales and Scotland but we will write to clients when these have been announced, however, this does put pressure on for Wales and Scotland to freeze multipliers in the same way.


NNDR 1 is fast approaching
It has never been more important to get your provisions right for the upcoming NNDR 1, not least due to the impact of Covid but also the need to take into account the various GPCR (Group Pre Challenge Review) agreements/discussions in relation to fire stations, hospitals and schools. These recent decisions will have an impact on rateable values including the Exeter decision (museums).

Wilks Head and Eve are best placed to provide accurate provisions on this, through our line by line approach looking at each property to assess the likely impact and with our first-hand knowledge and experience in these groups and discussions we know the impact on value that these will have. We are already preparing the information for existing clients, but if you are not contracted to this service, feel free to contact us to discuss this in more detail.

In addition we are actively involved in some groups in relation to Covid MCC’s so are able to accurately provide for losses including any backdated provisions so please get in contact if you would like us to provide a quotation for this.

All reports will be provided with a written report detailing our findings which will comply with auditor requirements.


Introducing RatesBase – Expert advisory, training and support service
For a number of years, WHE Revenues Assurance clients have benefited from a variety of added value services, including bespoke advice, training and guidance on complex and resource intensive business rates and valuation issues. As these services continue to develop and expand and are increasingly requested, we have consolidated the different elements of the service, now calling it RatesBase ensuring Local Authorities can request it as a standalone service if required.

Download our brochure for further details.



London Borough of Southwark v Ludgate House Limited and Valuation Office Agency 2020 EWCA Civ 1637 (The Guardians Case)
In a landmark case examining ‘live in guardian occupation’ of non-domestic properties, the London Borough of Southwark has won its appeal against Ludgate House Limited. This resulted in reversing the decision of the Upper Tribunal to determine that the use of property guardians in this case did not mean that the assessment became domestic and that the property owner retained ‘paramount control’.

By following the principles in the ATM’s case ‘Cardtronics UK Ltd and others (Respondents) v Sykes and others (Valuation Officers) (Appellants) [2020] UKSC 21, it was found that the agreements which were in place with the Guardians showed that they ultimately did not have control of the property and the responsibility for this remained with the Landlord, Ludgate House Limited.

It is understood that the Court of Appeal have refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, although it is still possible for Ludgate House Limited to appeal directly, however this decision is fundamental to all the ‘stayed’ Guardians cases as dependent on the wording of the agreements between Landlord and the Guardians it is likely that the property(ies) will remain in the list as non-domestic hereditaments.

The full case can be read here.

If you would like further information on this case, please contact Alistair Townsend, who worked on the case with the Council.


Covid 19 – Material Change in Circumstances
Progress has been made between rating agents and the Valuation Office Agency in reviewing particular classes of property in relation to the pandemic, and considering what, if any, the potential reductions in rateable value should be. At this stage, the discussions continue, and we believe that we will be in a position in the New Year to start submitting our evidence through challenges to the Valuation Office Agency. We will write to clients in January with the information that we will need to assist with the submission of challenges.


We hope this news round up has been helpful, but if there are any queries at all, please do not hesitate to contact Alistair Townsend, Director – Public Sector Revenues or Andrew Williams or Stephanie O’Neill.