Small businesses, including shops, restaurants, hairdressers, and pubs, will have their business rates halved next year, the Queen’s Speech to Parliament revealed today.
Setting out its new legislative agenda in the Queen’s Speech, the government said the change will increase the current business rates discount for small retailers from one-third off to 50% off during the next financial year, and extend that discount to cinemas and music venues.
The government claims that nine out of 10 independent firms will qualify for the relief, which is available to retailers with a rateable value below £51,000 – giving them a saving of up to £12,500 in total.
“The government recognises the role of business rates as a source of local authority income and will consider input from the sector as part of the review of business rates,” it said.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “We welcome the continued commitment to a fundamental review of the business rates system and would like to see this formalised in the upcoming Budget. It would do far more to help relieve struggling high streets and safeguard jobs and communities than short-term discounts, which will only impact some businesses but not all.
“The retail rates discount is just another sticking plaster that ducks the real crisis facing high streets, especially in vulnerable areas of England already suffering from years of economic decline and falling rents. However, it’s good to see the commitment to bring back the revaluation legislation that will help business’ rates bills more accurately reflect the rents they pay. This must be done urgently.”
John Webber, head of business rates at Colliers International, said: “The government’s recognition that they will commit to conducting a further review of business rates is good news, as is the confirmation of the 2021 Revaluation and a move to three-yearly revaluations.
“However, without further fundamental reform, and in particular an end to downwards transition, such changes will be meaningless in saving the High Street.”