5% hike set to hit firms in the insurance sector

The government’s refusal to back down over its proposed 5% rise in the uniform business rate could hit brokers and insurers.

Uniform business rate is a tax paid by occupiers and owners of commercial and industrial property to their local council, but at a rate set by central government.

The rate usually increases each year in line with the previous September’s retail prices index (RPI) inflation.

But critics have said September’s RPI of 5% was “an unrepresentative 17-year high and completely out of touch with council tax increases”.

The increase, which takes effect on 1 April, will apply to all businesses. Some small firms are eligible for rate relief but must register with their local authority.

Eric Galbraith, chief executive of Biba, said: “I have concerns about the costs affecting brokers, particularly the proposed increases in fees from the FSA. Any further business rate increases will impact brokers and couldn’t come at a worse time.”