AIM has been working over the past 12 months to help reduce the burden of business rates for its members and has been actively campaigning to make business rates fairer for all museums. This has included working with Arts Council England to make sure that museums, galleries and heritage sites are listened to by government.
It is now calling on the sector to complete the survey to provide greater impact on its campaigning, which in turn will bolster its evidence and ensure politicians understand how business rates are affecting the sector.
Through its research AIM has uncovered that many museums are paying unreasonably high business rates and that some rate relief measures, such as the Discretionary Rates Relief given by local authorities, are not being administered because of the financial strains councils are experiencing.
AIM also found that the way museums are described can affect how much rent they pay with half of the 1,614 museums described on the English and Welsh Ratings List and Valuation Officer’s Coding of Properties paying excessive rates. By classifying all museums as educational establishments, it believes, could mean a drop from a 5 per cent tax to a 3.3 per cent tax.
“If you are connected to a UK museum, gallery or heritage site now is your opportunity to make a difference by completing our survey on business rates so that we can demonstrate how significant this issue is,” a spokesperson said.
All UK Museums, galleries and heritage sites can take part in the survey and they don’t have to be an AIM member to give feedback. Submission deadline is Friday, 18 September.