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Monday 27th
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

Chancellor to rake in cash while impoverished NHS hospitals face £62 million rates rise

MILLIONAIRE Chancellor Philip Hammond’s property company has gained a whopping business rates bonanza while the cash-strapped NHS faces millions of pounds in crippling rises.

Mr Hammond — who is reported to have amassed an £8 million personal fortune — will see business rates for his Wrexham-based property company Castlemead slashed by a bumper £12,000 over the next five years.

And while the Chancellor rakes in the extra cash, NHS hospitals face an eye-watering £62m increase in business rates per year, a rise of 21 per cent.

Changes to the business rates system, the commercial equivalent to council tax, are due to be introduced from April 1.

It is the first business rates revaluation in seven years and concerns have been raised over the effects on small businesses, charities and the NHS which are set to see rocketing annual costs.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) warns that business rates in the capital are set to soar as high as 11 per cent above inflation over the next five years due to a sharp rise in property prices.

However Mr Hammond’s company is based in Wales where rates are calculated by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and the amount paid is determined by the Welsh Assembly.

The news comes a week after it was announced that former chancellor George Osborne’s family wallpaper company would receive a cut in business rates of £3,400 a year while other shops and businesses on King’s Road in London face staggering rises.

Critics point to the burden on the NHS which would no longer qualify for exemptions under the scheme. W

hile NHS hospitals face eye-watering increases, some private healthcare companies such as Nuffield Health benefit from an 80 per cent discount as they are registered as charities.

Over 100 NHS trusts across the country had requests to be exempted from the rates increase rejected by the Local Government Association (LGA) and are considering legal action.

Earlier this year the LGA defended its position of taxing hospitals with a spokesman saying they “remain of the view that NHS trusts and foundation trusts are not charities” so are not eligible for rate relief.

A VOA spokesman said: “Rateable values are set independently of ministers by the VOA and reflect the open market rental value on a fixed date — for this revaluation it’s April 1 2015.

“If those open market values have changed, then rateable values will change with them.”