Business rates relief was high on the agenda in this year’s budget. Whilst retailers, leisure operators and the hospitality industry will welcome the changes, what will happen after the year is up?
Read our legal insight to find out more about the changes, and what the government is proposing in the longer-term.
It had already been announced that the business rates retail discount for properties with a rateable value of below £51,000 in England was to be increased to 50% in 2020-21, and would be expanded to include cinemas and music venues. In the budget, the Chancellor acknowledged the additional support required by small businesses in response to COVID-19 and announced a further increase to 100% for 2020-21. The leisure and hospitality sectors will also benefit from this 100% ‘business rates holiday’.
The budget sets out that these temporary measures, taken together with existing small business rates relief, mean that around 900,000 properties, or 45% of all properties in England, will receive 100% business rates relief in 2020-21.
Pubs with a rateable value of over £51,000 will also see some additional support. The government had also already announced the introduction of a £1,000 Business Rates discount for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 in England for one year from 1 April 2020. This is being increased to £5,000.
Whilst retailers, leisure operators, and their landlords, will welcome these changes, already struggling local authorities are not going to view them in such a positive light. It is clear that further long-term change is necessary.
A more wholesale review of business rates is on the cards. The government published terms of reference alongside the budget and has stated that a Call for Evidence will be published in spring 2020, with a report due by autumn 2020.
We will be monitoring and reporting on developments.Contributor: Alexandra Holsgrove Jones