The cost of running a business in England varies wildly across regions – the average rateable values of commercial property can differ by as much as £114,000, according to research by online accountant Crunch.co.uk.
When looking at business rates on premises, London’s Westminster has been named as the area with the highest in the country, while Tendring in the East of England offers the lowest.
The latest 2010 figures obtained by Crunch.co.uk from the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) website* show that Westminster’s average business rate is £123,600 - more than 13 times that of Tendring in Essex, which has an average business rate of £9,300.
Overall, the average rateable value of business property in England currently stands at £32,800. The findings show a significant increase compared to 2005, when the average value was £27,000.
“There are lots of different costs associated with setting up and running a business, and rates are important to consider, especially for those in need of a fixed business premises trading in an expensive part of the country,” said Darren Fell, founder of Crunch.co.uk. “Although local authorities take these figures set by the VOA and reduce them via reliefs that are applicable, the rates may also illustrate why a lot of small start-ups choose to run their businesses from home, with the option of employing virtual staff or freelancers if they’re unsure of committing to fixed costs of commercial office space.”
The top five average business rates in England reveal a big gap between London authorities and the rest of the country:
* Westminster - £123,600
* City of London - £111,000
* Hillingdon - £100,600
* Crawley (SE) - £86,800
* Kensington and Chelsea - £80,300
East and South East England also fare highly, each having five local authorities inside the top 20, while Solihull in the West Midlands is the only entry in the top 20 from outside the three dominant regions.
At the lower end of the scale, the South West is prominent, as is the North West. The five areas with the lowest rates are:
* Tendring (East) - £9,300
* Torridge (SW) - £10,100
* Isle of Scilly (SW) - £10,400
* North Norfolk (East) - £10,900
* Forest of Dean (SW) - £11,200
A map is available to illustrate this story: http://www.crunch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Cr005_UKmap_A5_NA...
Business rates explained
The VOA (www.voa.gov.uk) is a division of HMRC responsible for setting business rates.
Crunch.co.uk combines a team of expert accountants with ridiculously easy-to-use online accounting software. Designed specifically for freelancers, contractors and small businesses, Crunch.co.uk is more than just accounting; it’s a vital business tool. The accountant and software service is available for a fixed monthly fee of £59.50. For this, users can invoice, add expenses, have their annual accounts and returns prepared and see the exact health of their businesses instantly with a fun, innovative and simple-to-use website with banking grade security. Crunch.co.uk is the next generation of accounting which replaces the traditional accountant. It takes the pain out of accounting and helps people live the entrepreneurial dream.
Crunch.co.uk won ‘Innovation in Business’ at the Brighton and Hove Business Awards 2009 and is founded by online entrepreneur Darren Fell. Fell appears in the 2008 Courvoisier ‘The Future 500’ in association with The Observer’; a league table of the UK’s most talented business people and was also named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Sussex Business Awards 07/08. High profile online entrepreneurs – Bebo’s co-founder Paul Birch and former Skype Chairman Michael van Swaaij – are investors in the company.
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