Despite a cut of 50% in business rates for shops, restaurants, bars and gyms of up to £110,000 there is still considerable concern over the failure of the Government to reform business rates in the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s October budget.
Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the 50% reduction in business rates was welcome but there was a wide range of firms hit by the Covid crisis who were in the high street but were not included.
“It’s very helpful for the hospitality industry, the night time economy and village shops and many retailers but there’s a long list of firms who will not benefit,” he said, “as the high street contains all manner of companies from printers and sign-makers to couriers and smaller manufacturers. What we need is a total overhaul of business rates so online retailers pay their fair share as opposed to the bricks and mortar businesses stumping up the lion’s share.”
Tony Danker of the CBI said: “On Business Rates, the Chancellor made real strides in making the system more palatable for businesses in the shorter term. More frequent valuations, wider reliefs and improving the incentives for firms to decarbonise their premises is what firms have been calling for. But the hard truth is that wholesale reform to unlock investment was rejected today. The Government missed the opportunity to truly reform a business rates system that diminishes Britain’s high streets and factories.”
Ian Carrotte said there had been a record number of shops closing due to the Covid lockdowns when many were effectively denied their customer base. However online retailers such as Amazon prospered but pay far less tax than the equivalent high street store he said.
He said: “Earlier this year we were led to believe the chancellor was planning on a new online sales tax with the likes of Amazon, Asos and Ocado in mind. That’s something he’s shied away from and apparently, he’s now in talks about such a tax. High streets are the heart of every town and city but increasingly you see shops boarded up. Every retailer generates business for local companies from shop fitters to printers – out of town warehouses preferred by the likes of Amazon do not – and to add insult to injury they pay far less tax.”
The 50% cut is temporary with the savings set to be continued in the next financial year – the cut in business rates for eligible firms is up to a maximum of £110,000 and the chancellor has scrapped 2022’s planned annual increase in rates for all firms for the second year in a row.
About ICSM Credit
ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.
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For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk