The small business rate relief scheme will be extended for another year, but the £1,500 discount for high street retailers will be removed, Chancellor George Osborne announced today.
Osborne also confirmed in the autumn statement that local authorities would set business rates and keep 100% of receipts from 2020.
He dispelled retailers’ fears over police funding by committing to protecting the police budget in line with inflation. In addition, from next April police forces will be able to increase the amount they require from council tax collections by 2%.
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman welcomed the extension of small business rate relief but raised concerns about business rates devolution.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to extending small business rate relief in 2016; this is a measure that helps businesses to the tune of over £1bn each year and is essential in giving local shops the opportunity to invest in their staff, property and services.
“We still have significant concerns about the devolution of rate setting powers to local authorities, given how little existing discretionary rate relief setting powers have been used to support businesses.”
He said scrapping the £1,500 business rate discount was a “huge blow for local shops - the retail rate discount was brought in to protect the high street, and meant most small shops saw a fall in actual rates bill for the past two years”.