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Business rates holidays ‘totally out of step with current economy’, argues retail campaigner

Parliament Westminster London Britain

A campaigner for the retail sector has shot down the Government’s support for businesses in the wake of its Budget for 2021.

Vivienne King, CEO of the Shopkeepers’ Campaign, was particularly critical of the business rates holiday that the Government has extended until until the end of June for English businesses.

She labelled it no more than a “temporary fix”, saying the system “is totally out of step with the current economy”.

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Along with a host of other extensions and new support measures, the Government announced on Wednesday its extension of the business rates holiday it introduced last year as a means of easing pressure on companies during lockdown.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget 2021 revealed that around 750,000 eligible English businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will benefit from further business rates relief. Sunak has extended the business rates relief for three months until the end of June.

The rest of the year, rates will be reduced by two thirds, up to the value of £2m for closed businesses and a lower cap for those who have been able to stay open.

The Shopkeepers’ Campaign, meanwhile, is run under the auspices of the British Property Federation with backing from retail property industry leaders to campaign for the reform of business rates.

CEO, Vivienne King, commented: “While I’m pleased the Chancellor has recognised the essential need to support bricks-and-mortar retail with extensions to the business rates holiday, the truth is that business rates relief is no more than a temporary fix for an embattled sector and retail property owners are still denied equivalent relief on empty units which they cannot let – where’s the justice in that?

“It’s clear the business rates system is totally out of step with the current economy.

“Retail meets around 25% of the bill which, with a corporation tax increase, takes the total tax bill paid by our high street businesses to even more unsustainable levels.

“If we want to safeguard the future of our town centres which are the lifeblood of our healthy communities, it is now even more critical we see the fundamental reforms that the Chancellor has promised, which include deep cuts to rates from April 2022.”

For more of the updates the Chancellor provided in his Budget 2021, read below:

BUDGET 2021: Chancellor announces recovery loans, business rates relief and furlough scheme

Tags : budget 2021Rishi SunakShopkeepers' Campaign
Sam Lewis

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