Pub operator Ei Group (formerly Enterprise Inns) has said it will offer its Publican Partnerships licensees access to independent business rates advice.
The company said the move was intended to help avoid licensees falling pray to scammers, offering ineffectual advice for ‘large up-front, non-returnable, fees’.
Rates are set to dramatically increase from 1 April 2017, as new rateable values based on 1 April 2015 come into force. Usually reassessed every five years, the previous rateable values set in 2010 were based on property values in 2008, meaning many businesses are set to experience a steep increase.
Due to expected high levels of demand, it has appointed Colliers International, Harris Lamb and Lambert Smith Hampton as advisors.
Simon Millar, Ei Group estates director, said: ‘We recognise that the changes to business rates will be a concern to our publicans and we are determined to offer them the best support possible to help them navigate their way through the appeals process.
‘In the past, we have heard of circumstances of publicans being cold-called by perhaps less scrupulous advisers, which is really not how we would prefer our publicans to be accessing business rates advice.
‘We’ve decided to work with a panel of three selected specialist firms to support our publicans in ensuring they are paying the correct amount for their business rates. Even if a pub receives a reduction in rates, that doesn’t automatically mean that that the new level shouldn’t be reviewed and potentially appealed as, in some cases, the proposed reductions should be a lot bigger.’