Alex White, EY Associate Partner and Head of Business Rates, comments on business rates:
“Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England and Wales received a surprising and somewhat substantial boost from the Chancellor in the Budget.
“Plans had already been announced for a 50% reduction in business rates for SMEs in the retail sector with property of a rateable value below £51k for the tax year April 2020 to March 2021, but the generosity was expanded to 100% and broadened to include the hospitality and leisure sectors.
“Additionally, the smallest businesses who already benefit from Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR), with property of a rateable value below £12k are to benefit from an unprecedented £3k cash grant funding.
“At the other end of the scale, large retailers who have been lobbying for business rates reductions are likely to be disappointed that their requests were not addressed in this Budget. Instead, they must now wait for the outcome of the Treasury’s fundamental review of the entire business rates system.
“With the footfall to shops already in steady decline in many areas, the decision to hold off on providing any additional assistance to larger businesses this year could make it another challenging year for the high street.”