BCC REACTS TO DELAY FOR BUSINESS RATES REVIEW

Ciaran Murray

The British Chamber of Commerce has reacted to the government’s announcement that the final report for the review of business rates has been delayed until autumn.

The government said the review’s final report would be released later in the year when there is more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and public finances.

The fundamental review of business rates was announced by the Chancellor at last year’s Budget. A call for evidence was published in July 2020 to seek stakeholders’ views on key issues, including reforming the rates multiplier and looking at alternative ways of taxing non-residential property.

The call for evidence closed last year and the government is currently considering responses.

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An interim report which will include a summary of responses to the call for evidence will be now be published on 23 March, along with a number of tax documents, consultations and calls for evidences on a range of tax-related issues.

BCC head of economics Suren Thiru said: “Delivering fundamental change to this longstanding drag anchor on business has become only more pressing in light of Covid-19.

“Delay in reforming a broken system will hamper any recovery by exacerbating business cash flow concerns as part of the fixed cost base that firms can do little to push downward.

“The delay in the review underscores the need to urgently extend business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure and provide rates relief to all firms whose ability to generate revenues are severely impaired by the pandemic.”

At the upcoming Budget, the Chancellor will outline the next stages to support businesses and families across the UK.

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