Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has said in his Autumn Statement that business rates will undergo a full “structural review” alongside the extension of the 2% cap on business rate increases for next year.
Further help on business rates announced in the speech included the extension of small business rates relief for another year and the rollover of the discount for retailers with properties of less than £50,000 rateable value, worth £1000. This will rise to £1,500 next year.
Retailers have long been against the 400-year-old taxation system with 100 businesses, including F Hinds, calling for a business rates overhaul earlier this year.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), has welcomed the review: “We want a system that brings investment and jobs to the high street without punishing retailers who trade online. The retail industry is the largest rates payer, contributing over a quarter of the total rates tax take.
“Today’s short term support package will be of enormous help to those struggling to keep their businesses open on the high street.”
John Rogers, Sainsbury’s chief financial officer and chair of the BRC industry-wide group looking at the issue of business rates, said: “A clear consensus has emerged across businesses of all sizes and from all sectors – our current outdated system of business rates isn’t just a retail problem, but a business problem.
“We will be fully engaging with the review to ensure we get a new system which is fit for purpose in the 21st Century.”