The government is seeking input on its plans to increase the regularity of business rates revaluations.

HM Treasury yesterday released a consultation on business rates reform measures that could see revaluations take place every three years, rather than the current five-year period. 

The consultation is part of the government’s wider review into business rates, which it is set to publish in the autumn. 

Financial secretary to the treasury Jesse Norman said: “As our economy is recovering, we are supporting businesses to build back better.

“Proposals set out in this consultation would mean that valuations more quickly reflect how the economy is performing, making the business rates system more accurate and responsive, while balancing the burden for ratepayers.”

The length of time between reviews has long been an issue for high street retailers, hospitality and leisure businesses, and the announcement has been welcomed by many on that front.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It is great that government have heeded our call for more frequent revaluations. This should be the first step towards making the business rates system fairer and more reflective of current economic conditions. 

“As retail emerges from the pandemic, a return to ‘business rates-as-usual’ could derail the industry’s recovery, with unnecessary shop closures and job losses the result.

“It is vital that the government builds on this first step on the road to reform and stands by its commitment to reduce the overall rates burden on businesses and ensures there are no further delays to the outcome of the fundamental review.”

British Property Federation chief executive Melanie Leech said: “We have long called for the government to introduce more frequent revaluations. Even before the pandemic, outside of central London, retail rents had fallen by about 30% over the previous decade – and including inflation it’s more like 50% – while rates remain based on outdated rental values from 2015.

“More frequent revaluations are desperately needed to support high street businesses and a more positive future for our town centres.

“Now the government must also consider abolishing the system of downwards transitional relief, where a reduction to a rates bill following a revaluation is restricted. If the government is serious about making business rates fairer, they must accurately reflect true rental values with immediate effect upon revaluation.”