BIRA has welcomed the announcement of business rates relief by the Chancellor this week, but warned it was concerned about the increased standard multiplier.
In the Autumn Statement delivered this week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, announced a 12-month extension of business rates relief for the hospitality sector. Despite acknowledging the need to phase out temporary support measures, the Chancellor emphasised the importance of continued assistance to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries.
The 75% discount, initially introduced following the pandemic, will persist, and enables eligible businesses to claim relief of up to £110,000.
Recognising the vital role played by pubs and high street shops in communities, Chancellor Hunt announced a £4.3 billion tax cut through the extended relief. Additionally the small business multiplier will remain frozen for another year. However the standard business multiplier, applicable to businesses with a rateable value exceeding £51,000, will see a 6.4% increase.
BIRA ceo, Andrew Goodacre, commented: “We are delighted to see the 75% discount retained and the small business multiplier frozen – it is a lifeline to so many independent retailers. However, it was disappointing to see the standard multiplier increased by almost 7%. There are many independent retailers who will now be paying more rates next year, as well as paying 10% more on labour.”
The Chancellor also announced a 2% cut in National Insurance from 12% to 10%, effective from January 6, 2024. This reduction, amounting to £450 for an employee with a salary of £35,000, aims to provide financial relief and stimulate recovery.
Andrew said: “We are also concerned by the downgraded growth forecast because retail needs consumers to feel better off and have more confidence in spending on the high street. We are not convinced yesterday’s statement will achieve either growth or consumer confidence”