The British Property Federation (BPF) today backed veteran retailer Bill Grimsey’s call for a ‘root and branch’ review of business rates, as analysis of European Union data revealed the UK pays the highest business rates of any country in Europe, and more than France and Germany combined.

The BPF’s analysis of EU data shows that, as a proportion of GDP, UK business rates are more than three times those in France, and more than five times those in Germany. In cash terms, the UK Exchequer generated nearly 35bn Euros from business rates in 2010, more than France (15bn Euros) and Germany (12.5bn Euros) combined. The analysis also shows:

  • France takes the equivalent of 2.3% of its GDP (see table below) in ‘recurrent’ property taxes (business rates and council tax). However, separate data reveals that only 23% of this comes from non-domestic property (equivalent to 0.5% of France’s GDP).
  • Germany takes the equivalent of 0.5% of its GDP in recurrent taxes, with 60% of this classified as non-domestic (0.3% of GDP).
  • The UK’s income from recurrent taxes is by far the highest in Europe at 3.4% of GDP, with business rates accounting for nearly half of this (1.6% of GDP).