London’s Westminster has highest business rates while Tendring in the East has the lowest

Across regions in England the cost of doing business varies widely. The average rated values of commercial properties can vary by as much as £114,000 says research from online accountant Crunch.co.uk

The area named as having the highest business rates on premises in the country is London’s Westminster, while in the East of England, Tendring was the lowest. Crunch.co.uk latest figures for 2010 obtained from the Valuation Office Agency’s website show the average business rate for Westminster was £123,500 or more than 13 times higher than that of Tendring in Essex with an average rate of only£9,300.

The average rateable value overall of business property in all of England is currently £32,800. That shows a noted increase compared with rates in 2005 when they averaged only£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.

http://www.voa.gov.uk/publications/public_fact_sheets/busine…

http://www.2010.voa.gov.uk/rli/static/HelpPages/English/faqs…

* http://www.voa.gov.uk/publications/statistical_releases/Dece…