Thousands of retailers missed out on promised rates relief
A third of high street businesses in England have missed out on discounts on their business rates bills, new data reveals.
Just 272,000 out of 400,000 retailers, leisure and hospitality venues were able to claim a 50% discount on the commercial property tax announced at the last budget, property specialists at Gerald Eve found.
It means 128,000 businesses missed out and has led to calls on the government to ensure that any new support at the upcoming mini-budget is properly targeted.
The data, seen by City AM, comes from Freedom of Information requests to councils in England, asking them how many businesses in their area benefited from the rates relief that was handed to companies in sectors heavily impacted by pandemic closures to aid the recovery of the high street.
The principal reason why only two-thirds of businesses have been able to access the 50% discount is that the former chancellor placed a cap of £110,000 on the amount that each business can receive, rather than each property. This meant retailers and hospitality operators with multiple sites couldn’t benefit other than for their first few properties.
Gerald Eve also called on the government to extend the 50% discount next year to support businesses. Without extending the support, retailers and the leisure and hospitality sectors can expect their business rates bills to soar by £1.7 billion, it noted.
Jerry Schurder, business rates policy lead at Gerald Eve, told the website: “The new chancellor must avoid the mistakes of his predecessor when he announces support for businesses on Friday. Naturally, a lot of the attention will be on support for sky-high energy bills but there will be little point if those same firms see their business rates soar."
He added: “The new Prime Minister told businesses she wanted to intervene in reforming rates. Now she must deliver.”
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