REVEALED: Yorkshire’s biggest business rate payers

Yorkshire’s biggest business rate payers have been revealed as organisations prepare for further changes and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Drax Power Station in Selby tops the list of businesses with the highest rateable values in Yorkshire. Picture by Simon Hulme

Power stations, telecommunications firms and distribution warehouses top the list when it comes to paying the controversial business property tax, according to figures analysed by Dunlop Heywood.

Business rates are worked out based on a property’s rateable value. This is its open market rental value, as of 1 April 2015, based on a valuation produced by the Valuation Office Agency.

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Drax Power Station in Selby pays the largest bill in Yorkshire and has a rateable value of £18.2m, according to the figures, way ahead of Hull-based telecommunications firm KCom, the next business on the list, which has a rateable value of £6.5m.

Leeds and York universities also top the list, with rateable values of £9m and £7m respectively, while St James’s Hospital in Leeds has a rateable value of £5.9m, although they all receive 80 per cent relief, which means the amount they actually pay is much lower.

Other big hitters in Yorkshire include Virgin Media in Seacroft, Leeds, which has a rateable value of £5.5m, and Ikea’s Doncaster distribution centre, with a rateable value of £5m.

The new rates bills for 2019/20 will start to land in April and will come into effect in 2021

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Stuart Hicks, director of property and rating consultancy at Dunlop Heywood, said: “What people are hoping for with the revaluation for 2021 is that it will reflect the changes in the market that have taken place from 2015-2019.

“The high street is one of those areas but there are other sectors of the market which face just as big changes, for example, energy, and the transition from fossil to green.”

When it comes to retail, Ikea has the expensive honour of holding slots one and two in the list of the biggest retail rate payers in the region. Its stores in Sheffield and Batley, have rateable values of £3.8m and £3.5m respectively. John Lewis in Victoria Gate, Leeds, is number three with a rateable value of £2.9m.

Mr Hicks added: “The big issue next month is Brexit. It’s going to be very difficult to establish values on April 1 which will come into effect in 2021.

“The system works when you have a stable rising market but when you’ve got change or transformation, it’s quite a difficult thing to do.”

He added: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the genesis of the system but what needs to change is the Government tinkering with it and offering things like transition rate relief which doesn’t work and creates a problem.”

Andy Koss, Drax Power chief executive, said: “The majority of our rates are paid to Selby District Council, meaning they directly benefit the area we operate in. Our operations have a much wider impact across the north – supporting more than 5,700 jobs through our supply chain and contributing £600m to the region’s economy.”

Sean Royce, KCom managing director, added: “Our network infrastructure in Hull has a rateable value of £6.48m, making us one of Hull City Council’s biggest rate payers, if not the biggest.

“As a company that’s been at the heart of Hull for more than a century and is a major local employer we’re happy that our business rates make a significant contribution to making our region a better place to live, work and invest.”