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The business rates system needs a rethink, not a sticking plaster

The UK’s legacy business rates system has – for too long – created barriers and economic distortions, hampering business investment and holding back areas of slower growth. Up to 50% of business investment is currently subject to business rates, the highest property tax within the OECD. The UK needs a reliable system which keeps pace with changing business models and the economic environment. This opportunity must not be missed.

The change we're calling for

Fixing a broken system will help encourage business to invest and grow, whilst supporting sustainable public finances, which will be crucial as the economy recovers from the pandemic. That’s why we’re calling for government to take active steps towards reducing the overall burden of business rates for individual firms.

  • Rethink the business rates system to deliver the certainty business needs to invest and grow, with a permanent cap in the headline rate to prevent rises beyond the current level

  • Reward investment and enable business to recoup costs before their rates rise in-line with the new value of the property

  • Better align business rates to the economic cycle, ensuring rates paid reflect the true economic situation

The case for new rates

Essential funding of our public services

Business rates form an important part of funding for public services which we all use and enjoy. But they can and must be structured in a way that enables businesses to invest for growth, to plan and to turn a profit.

  • Up to 50% of all business investment is potentially subject to business rates

  • The burden of property tax in the UK, (4% of GDP), is the highest of all OECD economies, making the UK less attractive for investment

  • Following the 2017 revaluation, the London Borough of Hackney saw average rateable values rise by 46%

Not all businesses are treated equal

One of the major criticisms of the current business rates system is how disproportionately it affects businesses of different size, across sectors and regions. Find out more about the major recommendations put forward by the CBI to tackle the problem, and learn about the challenges faced by organisations across the UK.

  • UK policy —

    CBI publish analysis on why business rates need a rethink

  • UK policy —

    Over-rated: making the case for business rates reform

  • UK policy —

    Green light for investment: how the business rates system can encourage economic growth

Our progress and impact

The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Support the change

  • Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business and help us campaign to keep progressive business rates a priority on the government agenda.

  • Are you a CBI member?

    Have your say

    Shape the CBI's work on taxation policy and get insight on the latest developments from government by joining a CBI Working Group.

  • Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's Tax and Fiscal Policy team. Contact Adriana Curca, Senior Economist, to find out why UK business urgently needs a progressive business rates system and how you can support it.