The Chambers View on the Autumn Budget and Business Rates

10th December, 2013

As a Chamber we have been saying for sometime that business rates are an outmoded form of taxation and need reforming. Even though the Government postponed the rating revaluation which was due in 2015, many organisations have been urging the Government to take action and completely reform the business rates system with a new more, responsive and transparent system to be enacted early in the next parliament.

We are pleased to see that they have taken on board some of the comments made nationally by extending Small Business Rate Relief by a year, capping business rate rises at 2% from April and enabling payment in monthly instalments with reform to business rates to be reviewed in 2017. Unfortunately this review is later than we would like to see but is a step in the right direction.

Halving rates on re-occupation by local retailers, pubs, cafes and the like should provide a real boost to the businesses concerned and to our town centre. Similarly, giving every property with a rateable value of up to £50k, £1,000 off business rates for the next two years will be a welcome boost to small businesses.

However a 2% rise is still a rise. Although a cap on rates will spare businesses some £300m in tax hikes and reliefs may help smaller businesses nationally, businesses will still be paying hundreds of millions more in rates to the Exchequer next year than the £27bn they're expected to pay this year. Businesses in Britain still pay far more in property taxes than their counterparts in countries such as Germany and France - undercutting the Government's stated aim of maximum tax competitiveness.

We look forward to seeing future reforms which truly reflect the changes which have occurred in our own High Street as well as High Streets across the nation.

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