By Altus Group | May 25, 2020

Heathrow and Gatwick Airports continue to top this year’s Annual Property Tax List despite Covid-19 adversely affecting international travel and the devolved administrations in both Scotland and Northern Ireland giving their airports 100% business rate relief this financial year.

The list, part of real estate adviser Altus Group’s Annual Review, released today, shows Heathrow Airport continues to be the largest ratepaying site in England and Wales with a business rates bill of £113.2 million for 2020/21 despite passenger numbers plunging 97% in April.

Gatwick Airport, the second highest ratepaying site and the biggest ratepayer in the South East, faces a business rates bill of £29.2 million this year whilst facing the risk it may lose all three of its leading long haul airlines – Norwegian Air, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Jaguar Land Rover in Solihull, who only restarted manufacturing last week, being just one of the two first facilities to get the green light with Covid-19 measures in place, tops the list in the West Midlands seeing a bill of £7.8 million.

The steel industry struggling with the fall in construction brought on by the pandemic remains vital to Council finances for local services with Tata Steel in Port Talbot paying £9.4 million being the largest ratepayer in Wales whilst British Steel in Scunthorpe tops the list in Yorkshire and the Humber with a bill of £11.1 million.

Robert Hayton, Head of U.K. business rates at Altus Group, says “tens of thousands of appeals are currently being brought against this year’s tax liabilities on the basis of a material change in circumstance due to the coronavirus crisis” and urges the Government to ensure the Valuation Office Agency is sufficiently resourced and focused to deal with the influx adding “it is vital for ratepayers that these Challenges are determined quickly and bills reduced accordingly”.

London’s iconic department stores, Selfridges and Harrods, would have been the 3rd and 4th highest paying sites in London but both drop out of this year’s list through the rates holiday saving each retailer £17.7 million and £17.1 million in rates respectively.

Power stations continue to dominate the list and are the highest ratepayers across many of the English regions whilst Goldman Sachs are a new entrant to the list with their £1 billion headquarters on Shoe Lane facing a bill of £14.4 million this year, making it London’s 3rd biggest rates bill.

As part of the measures taken by the Governments in England and Wales to negate the economic impact of Covid-19, overall property tax receipts from business rates by Councils, are estimated by Altus Group to fall from £26.03 billion during 2019/20 to just £16.2 billion during the current financial year although the Chancellor has vowed to compensate Councils for the financial loss.

 

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