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Richard Roberts, partner and head of the retail sector at Brabners, said: “In the lead-up to the budget, organisations across the country were hoping for more details on how the government would cushion the blow of the business rates revaluation. To an extent, that’s what we got. The chancellor’s three-point plan, aimed at helping certain smaller businesses and those hardest hit, will be some comfort to SMEs in the South East that were fearing tax increases of up to 70%.

The controversial business rates revaluation could encourage companies to swap premises in the South East for sites in the North, according to commercial law firm Brabners.

From next month, the government will adjust the rateable value of business properties to ‘reflect changes in the property market’. Rates are currently set according to the open market rental value of a property on April 1st 2008.

Critics of the revaluation say that it will lead to unsustainable tax increases in areas where property values have risen significantly, such as the South East.