The government announcement that rates bills will continue to be based on 2008 property values until 2017 will create a ‘toxic cocktail’ that threatens to drive more businesses to the wall, argues CVS, the business rates specialist which represents more than 25,000 businesses across the UK.

Mark Rigby, chief executive of CVS, said: “Extending the current charging regime until 2017 – nine years after rateable values were last measured – is unjustifiable and is simply heaping pain upon pain for businesses crying out for some respite from government.

“Low consumer spending, high property rents and rising overheads like energy bills and staff costs are making trading conditions hard enough on the High Street and right across business. Today’s announcement simply creates a toxic cocktail which is going to be very hard for thousands of businesses to swallow and survive.

“No business could get away with charging prices that are so many years out of date,” added Rigby. “Struggling firms shouldn’t have to take it from the government, yet they are being required to do so. It’s not what businesses need right now and, frankly, they deserve better. As an announcement it thoroughly flies in the face of pro-business claims from government.”