Hospital is one of the hardest hit in the country after £1million tax rise

Premier Inn Tunbridge Wells

TUNBRIDGE WELLS HOSPITAL will have to pay an extra £1million because of a rise in its business rates following a revaluation.

The Pembury site, which serves the Tonbridge community, is the seventh worst affected hospital nationwide after seeing its bill rise by around 62 per cent.

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [MTW] has confirmed that it will be fighting the ruling. It has already been placed in Special Financial Measures following the forecast of a £23.4million budget deficit last July.

The new rateable values, set by the government’s Valuation Office Agency, are calculated to take into account the rise in property prices between 2008 and 2015.

They are normally revised every five years but the latest round was controversially delayed for two years, meaning the rise is steeper than usual.

MTW paid £1.59million in rates in 2016, but the bill at Maidstone is low by comparison and has not increased significantly.

‘These rises in business rates liabilities highlight just
how punitive the system has become’

Jerry Schurder of Gerald Eve, a -company which advises public sector bodies on business rates, said: “At a time when the NHS is under huge budgetary pressures, these rises in business rates liabilities highlight just how punitive the system has become and will be a cause of real concern for those tasked with delivering hospital and clinic services.”

More than 150 trusts have jointly threatened to stage a test case against a local -authority unless they are granted an -exemption or rebate.

Around 80 trusts have asked councils to treat them as charities so they can qualify for an 80 per cent discount.

Private health providers like Nuffield Health, the UK’s second largest charity, benefit from such tax breaks because of their status as registered charities.

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