George Osborne announced at the government’s 2015 Autumn Statement and Spending Review that double business rate relief for small enterprises is to continue for another year.
Introducing the measure, the chancellor affirmed the government’s commitment to “all businesses, large and small.”
The move that will mean that 405,000 firms operating from a single property will receive a full exemption from business rates next year, with a further 200,000 benefitting from a tapered discount. The qualifying ratable values remain unchanged – companies occupying premises worth less than £6,000 a year will continue to receive a full exemption, and workplaces with annual values of up to £12,000 will receive a partial discount.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) called recently for an extension of the scheme and has welcomed the announcement – but raised concerns about the devolution of rate setting to local authorities which was also unveiled in the Autumn Statement.
ACS chief executive James Lowman praised the “essential” policy for giving local shops the opportunity to invest in their staff, property and services.
Figures released on 19 November showed that the scheme provided £1,061 of relief to small businesses in the 2013/2014 tax year – an increase of 7.7 per cent on the previous year.
Vince McLoughlin, partner at Russell New, commented: “The relief helps all the SME owners who have built up their businesses, contributed substantially to the economy with tax payments, and supplied employers national insurance contributions. We must celebrate the country’s entrepreneurs, not punish them for their success. Businesses are already exposed to sudden shifts in tax policies. They have plenty of other risks to navigate.”
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