Budget to include business rate relief package for small retailers

Budget to include business rate relief package for small retailers

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will use today's Budget to announce a £1.5bn package of support for the High Street, including £900m in business rate relief, according to widespread reports.

Nearly 500,000 small businesses will be affected by the relief package, knocking up to a third off their bills, according to advance indications given ahead of the delivery of the Budget at 3.30pm today (Monday 29th October).The financial package will also include a pot of £650m to rejuvenate high streets and their transport links.

Meanwhile the Chancellor is expected to reveal further details about the introduction of a so-called "Amazon tax", a UK tax on the revenues of big digital companies to help rebalance the playing field between physical and online retailers, including a potential timetable for its implementation.

However in advance interviews this weekend, Hammond said UK high streets "have to change" as a result of the British fondness for online shopping. He told Sky’s "Sophy Ridge on Sunday": ‘"We’ve got to help the high street to evolve and the high street of the future will have fewer retail outlets and more leisure destinations, more food and drink outlets.

"I expect the high streets of the future will be smaller with more of the areas around them redeveloped as housing."

Other measures said to be included in the Budget include a £2bn boost for mental health services.

However Hammond told Sunday's "Marr Show" on the BBC that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a new budget would be needed.

Full measures included in the Budget will be announced this afternoon. The Publishers Association has been lobbying for the government to remove VAT on digital publications.