AN online petition has been launched to stop the Government’s planned postponement of the 2015 business rates revaluation.

Property firm Colliers International has started the e-petition on the Government website and is urging businesses in Yorkshire to show their support by adding their names to the list.

If the petition receives 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

The proposal to delay the 2015 rating revaluation until 2017 is one of a number of measures being put forward by the Government as part of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

If implemented, businesses will continue to pay business rates based on property values in 2008, instead of current values, which are considerably less.

For the retail sector in particular this could have a devastating impact.

Colliers said many retail centres across the UK had seen significant falls in rental value since 2008 – with some of the worst hit regions falling by as much as 27%.

Retail values in Yorkshire fell by 23% – while London’s West End was the only retail area to see rental values increase, rising by 26% over the same period

Mick O’Donoghue, director of rating at Colliers International in West Yorkshire, said: “Struggling businesses have been eagerly awaiting the 2015 revaluation as a relief from high rates bills.

“Having it deferred until 2017 simply means that any decreases in their bills or chance of clawing much needed money back from the Government will have to be deferred.

“At a time when businesses need all the support they can get from Government, this is just another slap in the face.

“And while the Government is stating that it won’t increase rate bills more than inflation, postponing the revaluation means many businesses are being denied decreases in real terms.

“For some ailing high streets, this really could be the final nail in the coffin.

“This is why we are urging the Government to rethink its proposal and in doing so help to save our high streets.”