Rugby World Cup stadiums face £13m rates bill

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THE stadiums that are hosting the Rugby World Cup are facing a collective business rates bill of £13m, according to new research.

The 13 stadiums are expected to welcome half a million spectators during the tournament, which is set to deliver an estimated £2.2bn boost to the UK’s economy

However, the study from property consultancy Daniel Watney shows that these venues come with a hefty price tag. The rates are based on the stadiums’ overall annual rateable value of £27m, which is used alongside a multiplier set by the Valuation Office Agency, to produce the rate liability.

Wembley Stadium has topped the list with a £3m annual bill, while Twickenham and Newcastle’s St James’s Park come in close behind with bills of £2.1m.

Manchester’s recently expanded Etihad stadium faces a £2m bill while Villa Park faces a slightly lower liability of £1.2m. The study found that Elland Road in Leeds has a rateable value of £775,000 and a rate liability of £382,075. The other stadiums listed include the new £537m Olympic Stadium, which has a relatively low rates bill of £590,000 – a quarter of the cost faced by Wembley’s £798m stadium.

Debbie Warwick, the head of business rates at Daniel Watney, said: “The research reveals just how high the take is from these kinds of properties. The World Cup may help to meet the high costs but this isn’t the case for thousands of business owners.

“Any moves to overhaul the business rates system before April 2017 are pre-destined to be ‘cash neutral’ for the Government who raise over £26bn annually from this tax with very low collection costs.”

Craig Newton, associate director in the rating department of property consultants Eddisons, said: “The £13m of business rates being paid by the Rugby World Cup stadia is a timely reminder of the heavy burden that business rates put on many hard-pressed small Yorkshire businesses. Business owners often don’t realise that they may well be eligible for business rates relief – it isn’t much publicised because it’s not in the Government’s or local authorities’ interests to do so.

“There are examples of Yorkshire businesses successfully appealing after being overcharged for business rates, although the appeals process can be a bureaucratic minefield to the uninitiated.

“The Government has promised that the business rates burden will be more fairly split from 2017 however, with April 2015 set as the valuation date for business rate assessments from 2017 onwards, there is still an unacceptable two-year gap between the valuation date and the new list going live, which seems an anomaly in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world.” Robin Ellis, a director with CBRE in Leeds, said: “Every time there is a revaluation the rateable value for a sports stadium is based on the revenue which can be generated. This is inextricably linked to success on and off the pitch.

“The next revaluation in April 2017 will see a very different league table of rating assessments, reflecting the huge increase in TV revenues for the Premier League and the rise and fall in the fortunes of our high profile football clubs.

“This class of property is perhaps the most extreme example of why it is so important to have regular rating revaluations. Revenue can fluctuate dramatically depending on promotion or relegation and yet the change cannot be taken into account by the Valuation Office until a revaluation occurs.”

Richard Scott, an associate director at Dunlop Heywood Property and Rating Consultancy, said: “The picture would look even bleaker for our national football stadiums if the rateable value had not been challenged, having already been reduced from £10m to £6.2m.”

Iain Clacher, an associate professor at Leeds University Business School, said: “While some of these numbers appear to be high, relative to the businesses involved they are a tiny fraction of their profitability.

“Harrods, for example, would not be Harrods and attract the tourists and super-rich if it were to be based in Glasgow.”

Last week, a Treasury spokesman told The Yorkshire Post that a decision to postpone the business rates revaluation had been made to provide more certainty for businesses.

It was expected that a revaluation in 2015 would have led to more businesses facing increased, rather than decreased, bills, the spokesman said.

STADIUMs are rated on their annual rental value and they can lodge an appeal if they think their rental value is wrong, a Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said.

The spokesman added: “This Government is providing incentives for councils to support economic growth, providing a £1.4bn package of support, introducing a new discount to local shops and a cap on this year’s rate change.

“Our wide-ranging review of business rates will further ensure the system is fit for a 21st century economy.”

The Government has also extended the small business rate relief scheme, the spokesman added. said.