One in 11 pubs in England and Wales have already appealed against their new business rates assessments. Almost 5,000 appeals against new rateable values have been lodged with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) since 1 April. The Morning Advertiser revealed last October that pubs’ rateable values would increase by 23% on average. A spokeswoman for the VOA said: “Our valuations represent rental value as at 1 April 2008 and we believe they are accurate, based on the evidence available. “Up until 30 June we have received 4,880 appeals against the 2010 rating assessments of pubs which we will be dealing with, considering whether any of them contain evidence that would indicate that a change to the valuation is appropriate. “In the meantime, if anyone has reason to believe that their rateable value does not reflect the rental value of their property at the set date, they should discuss this with us.” Fleurets rating expert Michael Yass said the number of appeals lodged was “significantly lower” than after the last revaluation in 2005. He attributed this to the VOA being “much more amenable” about amending rateable values by informal discussions, and licensees being more careful when it came to lodging appeals. In addition, he said that a large number of pubs which had appealed against “a material change to business” as a result of the smoking ban in the 2005 rating period, had had their 2010 ap-peals dealt with automatically.