FC Halifax Town to be hit by business rate hike

The Shay Stadium, Halifax
The Shay Stadium, Halifax

Yorkshire football clubs including FC Halifax Town are dealing with some of the country’s biggest hikes in business rates following the national revaluation last month, with one rising by 220 per cent.

Eleven out of 16 clubs in the region have been hit with substantial increases in their rateable values. The largest increases were felt by Hull with a rise of 220 per cent to £1.6m – up from £500,000 – the eighth largest increase in the country, and Rotherham United, which saw a 170 per cent rise from £80,000 to £216,000.

Just four clubs saw their business rates decrease with the biggest reduction going to Sheffield United where the club saw a 43 per cent drop from £450,000 to £255,000.

Leeds United was the only club to see no change.

Business rates for football stadia are based on how well a club is doing using information from their accounts. The latest figures were based on information from April 1, 2015 so clubs doing well at that point were most affected. The previous figures, which came into effect in 2010, were based on figures from April 2008.

Adam Brooke, rating director at Dunlop Heywood, which has an office in Leeds, said: “In the case of Hull City they achieved promotion to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history by winning the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium in the 2007-08 season.

“Their trading position at that time was of a newly promoted club and the accounts will have reflected that. Compare that with the years leading up to the current 2017 list values based on April 1, 2015, when Hull achieved their highest league finish in the 2013–14 season, when they finished 16th in the table, and they also reached the final of the FA Cup.”

However, Hull is now battling to stay in the Premier League. If relegated it will be left with a bill relating to a higher league for five years.

Mr Brooke added: “In the case of Rotherham across the 2007-08 season they were languishing in the fourth tier of English football with worries over administration hanging over their heads and had been relegated twice in recent years.

“As such, coming to the April 1, 2008 valuation date the club’s fortunes were in the doldrums and their rateable value reflected that. Leading up to the April 1, 2015 valuation date for the current list values, Rotherham had experienced several years of success being promoted twice back to the second tier of English football with their finances in a much better shape and, thus, their rateable value has been impacted by their success.”

Other clubs facing increased bills include York City, Huddersfield Town, Barnsley, FC Halifax Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Doncaster Rovers, North Ferriby United, Bradford City and Guiseley.

Meanwhile, Sheffield United, which has seen its rateable value drop by 43 per cent, benefitted from the system. In 2015, the club was struggling to make its way out of League One but it has just been promoted to the Championship.

Scunthorpe United, Grimsby Town and Harrogate Town also saw their rateable values decrease.

Business rates are taxes paid on non-residential properties and are usually re-assessed every five years. The rateable value does not give the final business rates bill, which is set using a multiplier of roughly half and then tempered by a system of transitional relief.

Hull, Rotherham and Sheffield United declined to comment.