President's Blog - Autumn Statement

5th December, 2014

President's Blog - Autumn Statement

Following George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday it was great to see that the Chancellor has committed the Government to a fundamental review of business rates.

The Chamber has said for some time that this tax is out of date and outmoded and saps the strength out of good businesses year after year. However the review must deliver fundamental change to the business rates system. Tinkering at the edges is simply not acceptable when good businesses have to scale back their growth ambitions because of out of control rates bills.

However it is worth noting that this is not an easy problem for the Government to solve given that business rates raise £22 billion per year for the Government (which dwarfs other taxes, such as inheritance tax for example, which raises only £3 billion per year).

 We also saw some good news for business property owners in that the Chancellor announced that the doubling of Small Business Rates Relief will be extended for another year, until 1 April 2016.

For properties with a rateable value (RV) of £6,000 or less, the relief is 100%, meaning no business rates are payable.

The relief for properties with a RV of between £6,001 and £12,000 is tapered from 100% to 0%, meaning a significant reduction in the business rates payable.

The discount on business rates for retail and food and drink premises with a RV of less than £50,000 has also been increased from £1,000 to £1,500 for one year from 1 April 2015.

Some good news but there is still a long way to go to reinvigorate the High Street!!

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