Business rate changes across the central South – essential background to the Budget

A new, interactive, map for the Southern Policy Centre provides crucial background to next week’s Budget when Chancellor Philip Hammond is under pressure to moderate big increases.

The map, showing average increases and decreases by authority and by sector, highlights the places where rates will go up most. But it also shows that, even in this region, there are areas and businesses that are set to gain from falling rates.

How the picture looks after Wednesday will have an impact across thousands of businesses and, indirectly, on the income of local authorities. (Note: the increases/decreases are averages across business premises in each authority. Individual premises may have larger or smaller changes)

To explore the map, use the interactive tabs to delve into the variations.

A few highlights:

While Reading rates soar, other towns in the region look relative bargains

Reading office rates are currently expected to go up by 51% [with an average rateable value (RV) of £193 per m2]. And nearby Wokingham will see average office increases of 36.5% [with an average RV of £157 per m2].

But in Crawley rates are set to decrease by 10.5% [with an average RV of £147 m2]. (Shame about the train service).

Bracknell Forest is also likely to see rates drop by 10.7% [with an average RV of £113 per m2].

Basingstoke could offer an option for businesses looking for lower prices. Rates are expected to go up by 3.7% with the average RV being a low £98 per m2 in Basingstoke and Deane

The islands still look good for industry (despite rises)

The largest rises for industrial properties are likely to be on the Isle of Wight (est. to go up by 15.3%) and Weymouth and Portland (est. to go up by 16.8%); but they’re still relative bargains having the lowest average RV per m2 in the region at £30 and £29 respectively.

The Bicester Bubble?

Average rates for retailers in Cherwell are predicted to go up by 32.6% bringing the average RV in the district for retailers to £262 per m2, making it the highest in the region (it just pips Guildford at £261 per m2). This may be the impact of Bicester Village on average rates across the authority.