Responding to today’s Autumn Statement, the ALMR has welcomed the decision to review business rates in the UK and measures to support high street businesses in the UK.
The Chancellor, George Osborne announced today a full review of the business rates system accompanied by a doubling of the small business rates relief for another year.
ALMR Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls said: ““We are pleased to see the Chancellor recognising the enormous contribution that high street businesses make to the UK economy and taking steps to address the disproportionate burdens that those businesses face.
“The ALMR has repeatedly called for a root and branch reform of a business rates system that currently sees pubs and bars paying 15 pence per pint in rates compared to about 1 penny per pint in supermarkets. The UK’s high streets are more highly taxed than any other property market in Europe and this is clearly stifling investment.
“Currently, the calculation of rental values is not responsive enough to provide up-to-date information. We need a much more flexible system with annual reviews linked to CPI, providing a degree of flexibility to ensure that businesses are not paying rates based on valuations that are three or four years out of date.”
The Chancellor also announced a 50% increase in Help for the High Street to £1,500, increases in small businesses access to funds and an expansion of the British Business Bank. The Chancellor also announced the abolition of National insurance contributions for young apprentices.
Nicholls concluded: “Measures to improve access to finances for small businesses are also welcome. The licensed hospitality sector employs 8% of the UK’s workforce and venues generate around £235k GVA for their local economies. Increased investment in the sector, accompanied by a freeing-up of money from a welcome abolition in NICs for young apprentices, will allow our businesses to continue investments of their own, providing welcome jobs and growth throughout the country.”