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Government delays 5% business rate rise

Businesses have been given more time to pay the 5% business rate rise, under a new scheme announced by the government today.

Businesses will be able to spread payment of this year’s rate rise over three years, instead of paying the full 5% tomorrow. Rates will only increase by 2% tomorrow, with the remaining 3% being spread over the next two years.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said: “The Government recognises that businesses need help now to ease their cash flow at a time when money is very tight. This measure will help businesses to smooth their rates payments over the next three years.”

Businesses had been putting pressure on the government to halt the rate increase to help them get through the recession.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has welcomed the government’s decision. BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “It’s come at the last minute but the Government’s recognition that piling on a massive extra £250 million business rates burden in a recession would seriously harm hard-pressed retailers.”

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