UK government halves business rates for retailers

Business rates for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be halved for a year, the government announced Wednesday.

A new 50 percent business rates discount will reduce the burden of business rates by 7 billion pounds over the next five years, chancellor Rishi Sunak said while delivering the autumn budget.

“Apart from the Covid reliefs, this is the biggest single-year tax cut to business rates in 30 years,” Sunak said. The government is also to freeze the business rates multiplier by another year, a tax cut worth 4.6 billion pounds over the next five years.

The cut will come as good news for many retailers across the country, though some will say it doesn’t go far enough to help companies ride out the pandemic.

‘Some businesses helped, but not all’

Jace Tyrrel, the chief executive of New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and in Mayfair, said it was “encouraging to see the chancellor finally act upon the need to reform the business rates system”.

“Cancelling the inflation-linked rise to the multiplier may ensure that rates won’t go up this year, but they are still too high.

“Reducing the time between revaluations to three years is welcome as is the short term relief for investment in improvements and sustainability.

“A 50 percent discount for the retail and hospitality sectors will help some struggling high street businesses but not all.

“But by capping the 50 percent high street discount at 110,000 pounds it means little to city-centre businesses. For a West End store it will result in under a 1 percent cut in their business rate bills for just one year.”


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