Monday’s hotly anticipated Budget arrived amidst calls from national and local retailers to reform Business Rates or risk seeing even more high street businesses enter administration.
With new reliefs announced for retailers and public conveniences, as well as continuing relief for local newspapers, there are definitely winners in this budget, but whether it will be sufficient only time will tell.
Salvaging the High Street
The headline announcement for Business Rates in the Budget is that retail properties in England with a Rateable Value below £51,000 will receive a third off their rates bill for two years from April 2019, subject to state aid limits. At this point, it is unclear what will be encompassed in the definition of ‘retail properties’ and whether this will include shopping centres and retail parks.
A levy against services sold online and streaming services has been announced. Some variation of this has been considered at length over recent months and it appears this will offset the cost of providing relief for retailers.
It remains to be seen whether these measures will be sufficient to turn the high street around.
Relief for Public Conveniences and Local Press
The other recipients of reliefs in the budget will be public conveniences and local newspapers. Public lavatories will receive 100% relief while office space occupied by local newspapers will continue to receive £1,500 off of their rates bill in 2019-2020.
Other Budget Headlines
A consultation into self-catering holiday accommodation has been announced. The intention is to stop domestic occupiers having their property inappropriately removed from Council Tax and assessed for Business Rates.
Plans to encourage growth in the Tees Valley will be led by designating a Special Economic Area which permits local authority retention of the revenues from Business Rates growth.
If these or any other issues have an impact on your Business Rates liability, please contact us on 020 7489 4838 today.
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