Latest news from Bira

27 Oct 2021

Bira 'pleased' Chancellor announces biz rates discount in Autumn Statement

Bira is 'pleased' the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a 50% business rates discount for one year in his Autumn Statement today (Wednesday, October 27, 2021).

However, there is also concern the measures don't go far enough and will leave retailers facing more burdens than ever.

The pledged discount is worth up to £110,000 for retail and hospitality businesses, and was just one of Rishi Sunak's pledges to help boost the high street. It is not yet clear whether this is pre business, or per property.

Speaking to the House of Commons he said: "Pubs, music venues, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, theatres, gyms, any eligible business can claim a discount on their bills of 50%, up to a maximum of £110,000."

Alongside the Small Business Rates Relief, the Chancellor claims his measures mean more than 90% of all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will see a discount of at least 50%.

He added: "Apart from the Covid reliefs, this is the biggest single-year cut to business rates in 30 years. 

"We’re unleashing the dynamism and creativity of British businesses with a simpler, fairer, more competitive tax system."

Other measures announced in Parliament included:

  • Next year's planned increase in the business rates multiplier will be cancelled
  • Making business rates fairer and timlier' with three year evaluations from 2023
  • Introducing investment relief for green technologies: solar panels for 12 months
  • New rates improvement relief from 2023 and businesses will pay no extra business rates on improvements made to a property.

In his statement, Mr Sunak said it would be 'irresponsible' to scrap business rates completely - an election pledge of the Labour Party.

 

Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO, said: "Whilst we would have liked to have seen a more fundamental review of business rates, we are pleased to see some respite for the smaller, independent retailers. 

"The retail discount for business rates was a positive move when first introduced in 2019 and it is right that it is now re-introduced. We also think that the incentive to encourage investment in equipment tor reduce the carbon footprint of shops is a good idea.

"Prior to the Budget Bira called for support for business rates, incentives for zero carbon initiatives and investment in the transport infrastructure. It looks like the team at the Treasury have been listening and we will continue to push for the more fundamental reform of business rates on behalf of our members."

However, Andrew also raised concerns about the future burdens on retailers once full rates return.

He said: "The rates bill for this year was reduced to 25% (of normal levels). This was done in response to Covid. Reducing rates by 50% next year is in fact a 100% increase on what businesses are actually paying. On top of everything else, this will be a challenge."

Yesterday, Bira raised concerns that the statement would not meet the needs of the indie retailer. Full story here

What did you think of the Chancellor's statement? We'd love to hear your views. Email emily.bridgewater@bira.co.uk or call our membership team now on 0800 028 0245.


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