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Welcome news for the high street as Government announces rates reduction

It is welcome news for the high street that the Government is going to reduce business rates by up to a third for businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or below.  The current threshold of £12,000 only helps the smallest of shops, so this will make a real difference.

As the Chancellor, Philip Hammond did not announce how the reduction was going to be achieved at the dispatch box, bira still believes that removing the threshold and introducing an allowance would achieve this effectively – a proposal bira officially launched in the House of Commons in September 2018.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of bira, commented: “We have worked very hard in the past few months to promote our idea to reduce rates for independent retail businesses. This is a positive move by the Government but more detail is needed, and quickly, if the high streets are to become a vibrant part of our communities. We hope therefore that the Government will continue to work with the sector to ensure that this policy is effectively rolled out and benefits those it is meant to.”

bira also welcomes the Government’s proposal to establish a £675 million fund to help rejuvenate the high street. 16 shops closed each day in 2017 and this fund must be used to bring people back to the high street by addressing parking, public transport and planning issues. People’s shopping behaviours are changing quickly and high streets need to change accordingly by incorporating a vibrant and diversified mix of retail, leisure, services and residential uses.

Andrew Goodacre added: “bira has always promoted high streets as an integral part of our local communities. Independent retail businesses provide the diversity needed on any high street. We welcome the creation of a fund that will help high streets adjust to the future needs of shoppers.”

Read more about our business rates proposal