Insight

Business rates review delayed again

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that he is delaying the Treasury’s report on the business rates review until autumn.

Sunak has argued that delaying the report will enable him to make decisions when economic picture relating to the pandemic becomes clearer, but an interim report will be published on 23 March and will include a summary of consultation responses. It is hard to see how the Chancellor can avoid extending the business rates’ holiday, possibly bringing it in line with Scotland, with so many businesses still unable to open and regardless of what announcements are made later today by Boris Johnson in terms of any easing of restrictions.

It was almost a year ago when Sunak announced there would be a fundamental review of business rates, and that was due to report back in the autumn last year. Unsurprisingly, this was delayed because of the Covid crisis, but the business rates’ holiday in England is currently due to end on 31 March.

Earlier this month the Government issued letters to councils in England urging them to delay issuing the business rates bills until after the next Budget on March 3 – the clearest indicator yet that another pause is likely, whether it will be 12 months remains to be seen.

The announcement can be seen re: Business Rates Review Update – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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