Government acts to end “ludicrous” staircase tax

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has published draft legislation to reverse the impact of a ‘staircase tax’ which has unfairly affected up to a thousand businesses.

A recent Supreme Court judgment saw hundreds of businesses that operate in adjoining units or rooms, but are accessed from a common corridor or staircase, receiving separate rate bills for each unit.

The ruling also resulted in some businesses facing higher rate bills, with some paying more due to the loss of small business rate relief.

The action Sajid Javid is taking today will mean these firms can choose to have their rates recalculated under the old single bill system and any savings due will be backdated.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:”The ‘staircase tax’ is an unfair rates hike for businesses. For years these businesses in adjoining units or rooms received one rates bill, but this ruling meant they now faced multiple bills for operating in an office linked by a communal lift or stairs.I am ending this by giving those businesses affected the option of getting their rates bills recalculated and any savings due backdated.”

Responding to the draft Bill and consultation, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry welcomed the move saying: “The Staircase Tax has arbitrarily penalised small firms simply because they shared a communal staircase, corridor or even car park with another business.

“It is very good news that the Government has stepped in to repeal this ludicrous tax and I hope politicians of all parties will now back its abolition when it is put to Parliament.

“Senior ministers, including Sajid Javid and Philip Hammond, have taken this decisive action after listening to the concerns raised by FSB and its members. We look forward to taking part in the Government’s consultation to make sure this legislation is right and that all small businesses affected are reprieved without delay.”