In his October Budget, the Chancellor promised a £1.5bn support package for the High Street which includes significant business rates relief for small retailers and a ‘Future High Street Fund’.
There will be an estimated £900m in business rates relief for nearly 500,000 retail properties in England that have a rateable value of £51,000 or less (up to 90% of all retail properties). Ratepayers will have their rates bills cut by 1/3 for two years from April 2019, subject to state aid limits. This has been introduced alongside a £675m ‘Future High Street Fund’ which aims to facilitate the redevelopment of underused retail and commercial areas into residential and office properties via planning reform, a High Streets Task Force to support local leadership, and funding to strengthen community assets, including the restoration of historic buildings on high streets.
This seems a welcome move in an attempt to revive the High Street but many that feel the Chancellor has not gone far enough in his reform. This certainly isn’t the radical overhaul of business rates that some have called for. There isn’t the online sales tax that plenty have argued the need for. There is also no mention of concessions to those retailers that have an RV higher than the £51,000 bracket which is where a lot of the struggling big retailers lie.
Although the budget seems a positive step, it should not be forgotten that there is to be a £200m business rates bill rise for the retail sector in 2019. With online retail only ever increasing, the need for further for further reform is vital.
Oh and not to forget – the government will introduce 100% business rates relief for all public lavatories – leaving many feeling relieved….
For any queries about your business rates please do not hesitate to contact our head of Rating, Roger Dunlop on 0207 758 3281 or on via his email email@example.com