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Chancellor has cold comfort for racing on business rates

Rupert Arnold: working on challenging business rates revaluation
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Trainers' representatives will continue to work with advisers over business rates after chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond's Budget on Wednesday appeared to offer little in the way of relief from the big increases many will face from April.

As a result of the latest revaluation many stables face hefty rates rises, with the basic rateable value of yards across Newmarket set to soar by 53 per cent, although the National Trainers Federation and Philip Hobbs recently won a test case over all-weather gallops that should benefit a number of trainers.

Hammond announced some measures to mitigate the controversial changes, with small businesses who are losing their rates relief having increases capped at £50 a month, while a £300 million discretionary relief fund for local councils to offer to the worst affected was also announced.

Philip Hammond: Budget measures will help only a few small yards
NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold said: "Although the monthly cap on increases for businesses losing small business relief will help a few yards, from what I can see in the main announcement there are no measures that will help trainers whose yards are already outside small business relief, unless they can tap into the discretionary fund. We have no idea what the terms might be for access to that.

"We will continue working with our adviser Christopher Marriott to question the published rateable values on yards from April 1. In particular, there may be an opportunity to apply reductions to reflect the recent judgement on all weather gallops."

Racecourses are also being hit by the revaluation, with Arena Racing Company tracks facing a near 50 per cent increase in costs.

Racecourse Association chief executive Stephen Atkin said most of his members were being represented by one of two firms in overtures to the Valuation Office Agency.

He added: "It wouldn't pay to be complacent, but certainly the advisers felt there were very good grounds for appealing in many cases, notwithstanding what has been said today by the chancellor.

Stephen Atkin: 'Advisers felt there were very good grounds for appealing'
"On their merits quite a number of racecourses would be looking to get revisions from the Valuations Agency on the basis of misunderstandings of some of the issues."

Betting and gaming taxes were left untouched by the Budget. However there was a blow for the self-employed, including jockeys, as their national insurance contributions are set to rise from nine per cent to ten per cent in April 2018 and again to 11 per cent in April 2019.

We will continue working with our adviser Christopher Marriott to question the published rateable values on yards from April 1
E.W. Terms
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