Stena Line saves more than £4m in business rates thanks to Liverpool-based experts

Liverpool base of commercial property agency GVA worked with the Birkenhead to Belfast ferry operator to secure savings on rates dating back to 2005. Tony McDonough reports.

Stena’s Liverpool to Belfast ferry berthed at the Twelve Quays terminal in Birkenhead. Picture by Tony McDonough

Birkenhead to Belfast ferry operator Stena Line has saved more than £4m in business rates with the help of experts at the Liverpool base of commercial property agency GVA.

Stena Line has been faced with substantial charges for its business rates at its ports at Holyhead, Fishguard and Cairnryan.

As with other businesses, those based at ports and harbours must pay business rates that are determined by a “rateable value.”

This is based on factors such as the size and location of a business’ property.

Following lengthy negotiations with the Valuation Office Agency and the Assessor’s office in Scotland, James Denham and Eric Rose, directors in the rating team in Liverpool and Gordon Martin, senior director in Edinburgh, secured rates savings in excess of £4.1m for Stena.

Liverpool director at GVA James Denham said: “Rates are a very significant cost that port-based businesses face and unfortunately can have a detrimental effect on investment.

“Land taxes in Britain have been high in recent years and it’s essential we tackle these costs.

“For Stena Line, our specialist knowledge enabled us to make a series of rating appeals dating back to 2005, leading to significant savings.”

Business rate revaluations happen every five years with the next coming into force on April 1, 2017.

Stena’s Les Stracey added: “The rates we pay across our various ports represent a significant cost to our business.

“Therefore, the considerable savings that we have been able to make, in partnership with GVA, are very welcome, particularly as we enter a year of potential economic uncertainty due to factors such as Brexit, oil prices and the weakening value of the pound.”

Stena operates up to two each-way sailings a day between Birkenhead and Belfast throughout the year.

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