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A rates relief for businesses

The Government has recognised the impact that business rates has on business and has announced - in its Autumn Statement - various measures to help combat the effects.

In his speech of 03 December 2014, Chancellor George Osborne announced that it will carry out a review of the future structure of business rates by Budget 2016.  It will publish its interim findings from the review of business rates administration in December 2015, setting out how it will respond to business’ calls for clearer billing, better information sharing and a more efficient appeal system.

Chris Billson, a Director of Prop-Search, said: “Will this review go far enough?  The priority for all businesses is a root and branch reform of the business rates system as it is now seen as being an out-of-date way to tax businesses.  For instance, in the age of the internet, many have asked why a company should be taxed on the physical space it uses?  Unlike every other tax in the UK, the business rates burden does not fluctuate with the economic cycle, meaning businesses have to pay the same regardless of economic conditions.”

Chancellor George Osborne also today announced that to support our ailing High Streets, the ‘Retail Business Rates Relief Scheme’ will go up from £1,000 to £1,500 from April 2015, to March 2016.  This is predicted to help around 300,000 shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Small Business Rates Relief has been extended until April 2016.  Around 385,000 of the smallest businesses will continue to receive 100% relief from business rates, with around a further 190,000 benefiting from tapering relief.  The Government has also announced that it will continue to cap the annual increase in business rates at 2% from April 2015 to March 2016, benefiting all businesses that pay business rates.

Changes to reform the planning system also came under review in the Autumn Statement.  The Government has already taken steps to speed up planning decisions and building on this progress, will take further action to speed up the end-to-end planning process for major and minor applications.  It will ensure that the principle of development need only be established once; take steps to speed up Section 106 negotiations; and keep the speed of decisions on major applications under review.

Further advice on all rating matters can be obtained from Prop-Search - Tel: 01933 223300 / 01604 492000 / 01908 630066 or by visiting its website -

Wednesday, December 3, 2014