Autumn Statement: Rates cap


The Government’s Autumn Statement has today unveiled changes to the business rates system.

The Government says businesses in 184,000 premises in the south west will reap the benefits from its actions, and 70,000 premises in the south west will see their business rates bill frozen or falling.

Measures include:

  • A 2% cap on the RPI increase to business rates. This will benefit 138,000 business premises across the south west – the remaining 44,000 properties will pay no rates at all
  • A £1k business rates discount – available for two years to shops, pubs and restaurants worth less than £50k – will benefit 26,000 properties in the South West
  • Extending the Small Business Rates Relief for another year will provide continued support to 64,000 small businesses – 44,000 of which will pay no business rates at all

The cap on business rates, £1k discount for retail properties and extension of the Small Business Rates Relief come alongside other Government action to cut the costs of rates for business, including:

  • A reoccupation relief which will provide a 50% business rates discount for 18 months, on retail properties that have been vacant for a year or more
  • Relaxing the rules around the Small Business Rates Relief so that small businesses wishing to grow and take on a second property will be able to receive the relief for a year after expanding

Commenting on the Autumn Statement, Bishop Fleming managing partner, Matthew Lee, said: “As a firm, we have recognised the need for a total reform of business rates, which are constraining and crippling many SMEs by being set at outdated property values and uniquely rising with inflation.

“The Chancellor has today applied a sticking plaster by capping that inflationary increase to 2%, extending small businesses relief, introducing a 50% discount for new occupiers of empty shops, and offering a £1k discount to small retailers.

“The introduction of monthly payments will help Treasury cash-flow and may also help some small businesses.

“These are all welcome gestures, but Mr Osborne has failed to tackle the fundamental iniquities of this tax. We shall, therefore, continue to campaign for a ‘root & branch’ reform of business rates.”