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Business rates

The current system for calculating business rates has not been changed for more than 30 years.

Our members are concerned it is out of date and no longer fit for purpose and needs reform. This is not just the view of BIBA brokers but also the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The current system restricts growth and job creation and does not recognise businesses’ ability to pay. It needs to be simpler, modernised, more transparent and more competitive and move away from being based on property.

BIBA understands this is a long-term goal and therefore in the short term we are calling for the extension of tax relief beyond March 2015 for small businesses.

Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, FSB, said:

The FSB agrees with BIBA that business rates need total reform. The opaque, regressive system has lost the support of the business community. The next Government should commission an independent review, to create a new model that will unleash jobs and growth

John Cridland, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, said:

The current system of business rates is choking-off cash for investment, they have become disproportionately high and I agree with BIBA that it is time that this outdated and clunky system was reformed.

Insurance law

BIBA fully supports the Law Commission’s work in updating insurance law. The key areas within the Bill are the proposal to abolish basis of contract clauses and the abolition of avoidance of a claim as being the only remedy if there has been a failure to disclose information.

Protecting businesses from the costs of riots

The Home Office review of the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 contains both positives and negatives for businesses.

BIBA is pleased with many improvements being suggested by the consultation including the proposals about recognising riot areas, longer deadlines for making a claim, interim payment proposals and the discussion about new for old cover instead of indemnity.

However, there are areas where we are concerned for customers; for example the proposed cap on claiming compensation and not being able to recover an excess. The Home Office should not introduce a requirement that only businesses with a turnover of less than £2 million are eligible to claim. BIBA believes that any cut off should be based on a financial claim limit and that this Act should continue to protect all sizes of business.

BIBA believes the aim of the Act is to ensure that those that have suffered losses can receive compensation to enable them to be put back into a similar position as before the claim occurred. We cannot see a case for discriminating against different businesses just because of a blunt instrument like the size of their turnover.

BIBA does not believe the decision on whether the activity is a riot should lie with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) as this is a fundamental conflict of interest. It should instead rest with a separate panel of independent officials which should be consulted upon. This is following the problems experienced in 2011 where some police forces and MPs would not acknowledge the events were a riot, making it a very difficult situation for many victims.

The responsibility on the police to keep the peace remains the same and the need for compensation is no less. We do not believe that PCCs should have this power. An independent panel would therefore avoid any conflict of interest.

BIBA's Call for Action

Each year BIBA commits to a series of actions to tackle within our manifesto - these calls for action and commitments can be found within our manifesto.

Find Insurance

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