The changes could block businesses from appealing against their rates bills, even if they are wrong.
A union of business groups representing hundreds of thousands of firms has condemned the overhaul of the system, and predicts it will result in companies being forced to close. For years there have been continuous complaints about the £26 billion-a-year business rates system.
The new rules would mean any appeal within a specified margin of error – expected to be approximately 15% – would be automatically rejected, according to ten business organisations, including the Federation of Small Businesses. The Government’s plans would slash the number of appeals and help it reduce the backlog of 280,000.
Chief executive of the British Property Federation, Melanie Leech, said that the plans would mean that ‘businesses and jobs would suffer’.
Martin McTague, policy director at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This clause could result in the door being shut on small businesses which want to correct inaccuracies in valuations and reduce their rates bills. Businesses could be pushed into insolvency”.
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman dismissed criticism as ‘scaremongering’ and added: “Our reforms will streamline the process to help resolve cases as quickly and fairly as possible”.