6 May 2014

Good news for salon owners and business rates:

Salon owners are also reminded that, as of last month (April), retail businesses with a rateable value of up to £50,000 will receive a £1,000 discount on their business rates for the next two years, under plans announced back in December by chancellor George Osborne. Government guidance makes it clear “retail” in this context includes hair and beauty services (in other words hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops). Businesses can also now pay their rates in 12 monthly instalments rather than 10. Businesses should approach their local billing authority for details about how to apply for both concessions.

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The National Hairdressers’ Federation has expressed dismay at the narrowness of a government discussion paper designed to open debate around the reform of business rates – but is nevertheless urging salons to get involved and make their voices heard before the process concludes later this month.

The discussion paper, Administration of business rates in England, was published by the Department for Communities and Local Government in April and is designed to generate discussion ahead of the government’s stated aim of reforming the business rates system after the next revaluation, which is due in April 2017.

The NHF is carrying out a survey of members for their views on the issue during May, which can be accessed at:

www.surveymonkey.com/s/businessrate

Business rates are charged based on the property value of a shop or other commercial property. But the NHF has long argued the current system, which dates back some 400 years, no longer reflects the modern reality of the high street, with town centres nowadays having to compete with online retailers, who do not pay business rates if they have no physical premises, and out-of-town shopping.

In March the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee urged the government to examine whether a system based on retail sales would be fairer.

But the discussion paper makes it clear ministers have already ruled out this idea, arguing the government believes rates “should continue to be based on rental property values”.

NHF chief executive Hilary Hall said: “The discussion paper is looking at some useful areas, such as the way rates should be set and collected. But it is missing the bigger picture. In the internet age the whole premise of a system solely based on property values is flawed and unfair,” she said.

The discussion will run until June 6 and, despite its narrow remit, Hilary urged hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons to get involved and express their views.

As well as contributing to the NHF survey, which closes at the end of this month, those who want to can send in their views directly to the government can do so via email, to: businessrates.review@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk.

The discussion paper can be downloaded at

www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-administration-review-discussion-paper