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Government plans to limit appeals against business rates have been slammed as unfair by retail leaders.

Some of the UK’s biggest trade groups have joined forces to urge ministers to scrap what they claimed were “outrageous” changes to try to streamline the system.

The government wants to cut down on the number of appeals by businesses, with the next rates revaluation due to come into effect on 1 April.

It has published plans, which would mean it can dismiss appeals against incorrect valuations that are deemed to be within the bounds of “reasonable professional judgement”.

However, 13 different trade groups, including the BRC, the ACS and the BPF, have condemned the proposals in a letter to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. The letter claims it would leave retailers “powerless” to prevent unfair rises.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “Given the growing burden of business rates, it is essential that each ratepayer pays its fair share.”

However, the plans for the new appeals process would mean that a business rates valuation determined to be inaccurate by the independent Valuation Tribunal for England would only be corrected if it was deemed ‘outside the bounds of reasonable professional judgement’.

“This would be unfair to ratepayers and create additional uncertainty for local government. Instead, a collaborative working relationship between the Valuation Office Agency and ratepayers, where information and evidence can be shared and appeals avoided should be sought,” said Dickinson.

ACS chief executive James Lowman added: “The government’s plans to revise the business rates appeals system will leave retailers powerless to challenge their bills unless they are wildly inaccurate. If retailers successfully challenge their rates bills, they should get the money they’re owed instead of being denied on a technicality.”