The Chancellor’s Budget, announced today, includes measures to ease the impact of business rates rises on London’s businesses. Heart of London has been fighting on behalf of our members to make sure the Government recognises the difficulties faced by businesses in our area and we are pleased to be able to report on this development.
Recently, we joined forces with the Mayor of London, London Councils and London Business Improvement Districts, representing over 16,000 businesses across the Capital, to impress on the Chancellor that the scale and suddenness of the business rates hikes will have a negative impact on all our hospitality, retail, leisure and office sectors. We asked the Chancellor to:
- Consider transitional measures to mitigate the impact of business rate rises;
- Look favourably at policies and schemes that will enable businesses to create more local investment through Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) schemes; and
- In the longer term, commit to a review of business taxes, including business rates, to ensure that we have a system that best supports economic growth in our post-Brexit economy.
The Chancellor announced that he cannot abolish business rates due to their contribution to the Budget, however he announced a medium term review of the business rates system. The Chancellor announced three key changes to the imminent business rates increase, including:
- No business losing small business rate relief will see their bill increase next year by more than £50 a month;
- 90% of local pubs will have a £1,000 discount on their business rates bill; and
- A £300m fund for local councils to offer discretionary relief for hard-hit cases.
Following today’s announcement, Heart of London’s Chief Executive, Ros Morgan, said: “I am pleased the Government has listened and taken some steps to help businesses, however we still feel that many of our businesses will be disproportionately hit. We will work with Westminster City Council to give our members access to the increased discretionary funding, to try and alleviate this increase. We will continue to engage with the Government to work with them to change the business rates system to meet the digital age.”