Business rates for small retailers to be abolished for next financial year

Retailers with a value of below £51,000 to benefit

Thousands of small and independent retailers are set to receive financial respite after the Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed in his first government budget announcement that it would abolish business rates for businesses with a rateable value of below £51,000 in the next financial year.

This tax cut is estimated to be worth around £1bn and would benefit thousands of small and independent retailers around the UK.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our manifesto promised that for shops, cinemas, restaurants, and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000 we would increase their business rates retail discount to 50 per cent. Today I can go further, and take the exceptional step, for this coming year, of abolishing their business rates altogether.”

Ed Cooke, chief executive of Revo said the Goverment’s move to cut business rates for small business, underwrite statutory sick pay and extend the ‘Time to Pay’ service is welcomed and provides a much needed safety-net which will keep many retailers trading, especiallt with the strain of covid-19.

He added, however, that the announcement neglected to support larger retailers who are major employers and economy driver in the UK: “Attention will now turn to the business rates review, with the Chancellor seeming to have broken its fiscal neutrality rule in favour of ‘reducing the burden on business’ – if this is the case, it could be excellent news but must apply to retail and leisure occupiers of all sizes.

“We also welcome moves to review the transitional rate relief scheme, as we have long argued it is time to end a system where retailers in Middlesbrough are subsidising those in Mayfair. After a decade of calls for change, we hope this Government will be the one to get it done.”

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, also commented: “Despite announcing his support for British business, the Chancellor has failed to provide any relief for larger retailers, who employ the majority of the industry’s 3 million workers and currently foot most of the industry’s £7.5bn business rates bill. In April, these retailers will face yet another rise in business rates across England, piling on even more pressure on shops at a time when they are squeezed by lower demand and increasing costs arising from coronavirus.”

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