The Prime Minister has pledged to cut business rates for thousands of retailers, pubs and restaurants across England and Wales to aid struggling high streets.
High streets have been hit by high volumes of shop closures and administrations in recent years as firms struggle to cope with soaring rents and significant business rates.
In the Queen’s Speech yesterday (Dec 19), the Government has said it will increase the retail discount on rates by a third to 50%, at a cost of £320 million.
Nine out of 10 independent firms are said to qualify for the relief, which is eligible to retailers with a rateable value below £51,000 – giving them a saving of up to £12,500 in total.
The Queen told Parliament: “To support business my Government will increase tax credit for research and development, establish a national skills fund and bring forward changes to business rates.”
The policy matches the Conservative’s manifesto commitment to reduce business rates and implement the tax break across shops, restaurants, pubs and cinemas from April.
In the manifesto, the Conservatives planned to introduce the rates reduction for the 2020-21 financial year, and said it would only cut total tax receipts by £10 million over the following three years.
The move will be followed at the March budget by a review of the current rates regime.