Insight

Christmas cheer for small independents in Queen’s Speech

Small independents are one of the first winners in The Queen’s Speech today, after it confirmed help for them through a business rates cut.

A 50% business rate discount for small firms for one year was announced, that also covers independent cinemas, music venues and pubs. Music venues owners and publicans have been particularly vociferous in their protests against crippling business rates over recent years so they can at least claim a partial victory.

Measures are also being introduced to ensure business rate payers in England have bills that are more accurately aligned with current property values through more frequent business rates revaluations.

This isn’t new news, but business rates revaluations will increase from five to every 3 years. The next revaluation will also be brought forward a year from 2022 to 2021.

Most of the above was due to be introduced via legislation before the General Election but didn’t make it through before the dissolution of the last Parliament.

One of the Conservative manifesto pledges was to further review Business Rates so we can expect additional scrutiny and then possible reform over the course of this Parliament.

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If “Rating ” was not tampered with by politicians it would work, it would be a self levelling tax. But successive Gov’ts have continued to employ Transitional phasing; so a shop in Mayfair which sees strong rental growth fuelled by tremendous customer presence is buffered from Rates increases at the expense of a beleaguered shopkeeper in Middleton who does not pay Rates on his actual Rateable Value but what it was a number of years ago, This skewing of the system does not take place in Wales. Gordon Garnett MRICS Colliers International

By Gordon Garnett , Colliers