In his Autumn 2019 Budget the chancellor announced that business rates will be reduced by a third for two years for shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes in England with a rateable value of £51,000 and under in a bid to save Britain’s high street which has been hit with increasing numbers of shops closing.
The main aim is to relieve small retailers who have been threatened by very high rates and the rapid rise of online shopping which is has become very popular, diverting business away from many high street retailers and forcing them to close.
The cut in business rates will mean an annual saving of up to £8,000 for up to 90 percent of all independent retailers.
According to the Treasury, the changes would mean a pub in say Sheffield with a rateable value of £37,750 will save £6,178 next year and a newsagent in Moseley, Birmingham with a rateable value of £14,250 will save £1,749.
The new mandatory business rates will be “relieved” for all public toilets made available for public use, whether publicly or privately owned.
It is obvious that small businesses need support and the retail sector as a whole, is struggling. 10,000 retails jobs have been lost in the last three years yet not a single M&S, Debenhams or House of Fraser store would have been saved by today’s announcement.
The announcement in the cut of business rates has been welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and it is a positive step that the chancellor has taken decisive action to reduce the burden of business rates following big increases in recent years.
A £675 million Future High Streets Fund co-funded by the Government has been promised by Mr Hammond to help councils improve local high streets, including improving infrastructure and transport and to re-develop empty shops as well as homes and offices.