An appeal to the valuation tribunal has significantly reduced the “rateable value” of purpose built GP surgeries, meaning local authorities could be left owing the NHS many millions in backdated business rate refunds.
Payments backdated to 2005 could be owed by councils across the country. A ruling earlier this year left councils in Worcestershire owing surgeries £3.5 million with an estimated 1,600 appeal cases still outstanding.
Councils are appealing to central government to help cover these large and rather unexpected liabilities, arguing that they only began taking a share of the risk for business rate revenue in 2013.
The whole situation is messy and uncertain and the only certainty is that taxpayers will surely end up picking up the tab.