Johnson pledges to cut business rates in bid to revive high street

Johnson pledges to cut business rates in bid to revive high street

Boris Johnson's government announced cuts to business rates in the Queen’s Speech today (19th December) in a bid to revive the high street.

Discounts for small businesses will increase from 33% to 50%, with around half a million shops, restaurants and pubs set to benefit.

The tax break, which applies to all businesses with a rateable value below £51,000, will come into force in April, providing savings of up to £12,500.

A budget in March will announce a review of the whole rates regime, the paper reported.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said: "We want to reinvigorate communities up and down our great country, helping people put the heart back into the places they call home. That's why we're taking action to save our high streets and keep pubs, cafes and hairdressers open by slashing their business rate bills by a half."

It is one of more than 20 bills that will be announced today, including more funding for the NHS and the abolition of hospital car parking charges for "those in greatest need".

The Booksellers Association has long called for an overhaul of business rates, which has seen growth outgrow inflation and become a huge financial burden for small shops.

BA m.d. Meryl Halls welcomed the cuts. She said: “The BA welcomes this development wholeheartedly as a speedy implementation of a manifesto pledge – as will our smaller bookshop members in England. We also look forward to a swift move to a fundamental review of the business rates system that the incoming government recognises is so badly needed, and which we have been calling for for so long.”

A Treasury Select Committee reported last month that the current situation showed a “broken system”. Members criticised the complexity of the current regime which sees all 361 billing authorities running “their business rates system as they see fit”.

Speaking after the report was published, Halls told The Bookseller: "The reliefs that are erratically applied to this broken system don’t even paper over the cracks."