Reaction to Business Rates announcements in the Budget

12 March 2020

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday announced a substantial additional scheme of business rate relief for businesses in the retail and leisure sectors in England.

Businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for full relief from rates for the year 2020/21.

The measure applies to shops, cinemas, restaurants, museums, art galleries, theatres, caravan parks, gyms, small hotels and nightclubs.

The Chancellor is conscious of the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the hospitality section.

He also announced yet another review of the business rate system as a whole with the conclusions published in the autumn. The last review and report was produced by a Treasury Select Committee in October 2019!

Furthermore, £3,000 cash grants are being promised to 700,000 small businesses with rateable values below £15,000.

Additional rate relief available to pubs will increase from £1,000 to £5,000.

However there is a sting in the tail. Larger retail and leisure chains may not benefit from the rates holiday due to the state aid rules cap on the amount attached to the relief a business can claim over three years. Some firms have already reached the limit as a result of rate relief claimed in previous years.

Clearly this is a substantial package of aid which should be commended and will be very well received.

However, these measures only apply to England. We understand the Welsh Government will be consulting business organisations this week before announcing its conclusions and any additional business rate reliefs.

The Leekes Retail and Leisure Group have substantial property assets within the group and have engaged Andrew West to appeal against rating assessments on these properties since 2010. We have consistently been impressed by Andrew's knowledge of the property market and his negotiating skills have been exceptional. Given Andrew's outstanding performance, we would not hesitate to recommend Andrew to any business large or small seeking to appeal their rates liabilities.

Mike Fowler, Group Finance Director, Leekes Group