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Manufacturers Could Benefit From Substantial Business Rates Savings

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Manufacturers looking to renovate or improve commercial premises could stand to save thousands of pounds in business rates on the back of a landmark Supreme Court judgement.

hlw Keeble Hawson logoThe prompt for them to take immediate advice on business rate liabilities is the recent case of Newbigin vs Monk. This centred on a disagreement about the rateable value of a property in the North East that was being extensively redeveloped. The ratepayer argued that, because all of the services and installations had been stripped out as part of the refurbishment, the building should not be valued as if it was a useable office block.

The Valuation Office (VO) disagreed, claiming that unless a building is beyond economic repair, it should be valued as a property capable of being put back into commercial use.

The ratepayer said the rateable value should be £1, the VO said it should be £102,000.

This is a huge financial difference and the Supreme Court came down on the side of the ratepayer.

Although the question of whether a property is incapable of beneficial occupation will have to be considered on a case-by-case basis, the judgement has huge implications for manufacturers and property developers, because it provides support for ratepayers to potentially seek to have the rating list altered during redevelopment.

In the Newbigin vs Monk case, The Supreme Court held that the starting point for assessing rates in development cases should be to objectively evaluate whether a building is either in a state of disrepair or undergoing renovation works. It said the valuer can take into consideration the scheme of works which are being carried out on the material date for the purpose of making that assessment.

This is very good news for manufacturers and will encourage investment, redevelopment and expansion. They should always investigate the potential for reducing the rateable value of any property they are renovating by taking professional advice from a legal firm with a strong background in their sector.

hlw Keeble Hawson is consistently praised by the UK’s top legal guides for its expertise in the manufacturing, engineering and technology sectors. One of Yorkshire’s largest law firms with offices in Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster, it provides manufacturers with guidance and support in corporate and commercial, property, employment and dispute resolution issues.

For further information, contact Clare Darwood on 0114 290 6266 or email


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