Whilst council tax, prescriptions, utility bills and car tax are all set to rise today with April Fools’ Day being dubbed National Price Hike Day, small firms on England’s embattled high streets are set to share in half a billion pounds worth of tax cuts as business rates bills are slashed.
The Government announced a business rates discount scheme for small sized high street properties in England which have a Rateable Value below £51,000 at the 2018 Autumn Budget last October.
Under the scheme, small firms will receive a one third discount from their rates bills from today for the next 2 years which Philip Hammond says will help “up to 90% of all independent shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes.”
According to real estate adviser Altus Group, the average shop will today see savings of £3,292 in their business rates bills for 2019/20 whilst the average pub will save £6,052 and the average restaurant will receive a discount of £7,212 as a result of the new retail discount with Councils in England setting aside £502 million this financial year to cover the cost.
Robert Hayton, Head of U.K. business rates at Altus Group, said it was imperative that small firms checked their new tax demands carefully saying “some Councils are insisting that firms apply for the discount rather than applying it automatically.”
But Hayton said it wasn’t all good news pointing to the fact Councils in England are still expected to collect £25 billion in business rates during 2019/20 an increase of £206 million with the standard rate of tax going above 50% for all medium to large seized premises across all sectors of the economy, the highest rate since the national business rates system was introduced in 1990.