“Promises to abolish business rates completely irresponsible,” says Rishi Sunak as he unveils Autumn Statement 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out a range of new measures to help businesses as part of the 2021 Autumn Statement and Spending Review.

While industry insiders were hoping for a permanent reduction in business rates for small retailers, his new measures will see businesses receiving more frequent valuations, relief on improvements and a one-year 50 per cent discount on rates for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

He said: “Unfunded promises to abolish a tax which raises £25 billion a year are completely irresponsible. It would be wrong to find £25 billion a year in extra borrowing, cuts to public services or tax rises elsewhere, so we’ll retain business rates – but with key reform to ease the burden a create stronger high streets.”

KEY MEASURES
  1. We will make the business rates system fairer and timelier with more frequent valuations every three years. The new evaluation cycle will be delivered from 2023.
  2. As called for by the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Property Federation, we’re introducing a new investment relief to encourage businesses to adopt green technologies like solar panels. And I’m announcing today that we’ll accept the CBI and British Retail Consortium’s recommendation to introduce a new business rates improvement relief. From 2023 every business will be able to make property improvements and for 12 months pay no extra business rates. Investment incentives total £750 million.
  3. Without action millions of businesses would see their tax bills going up next year because of inflation. I want to help those business right now. So next year’s planned increase in the multiplier will be cancelled. That’s a tax cut for businesses over the next five years worth £4.6 billion.
  4. One final measure to help those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. I’m announcing today for one year a new 50% discount for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Those eligible can claim a 50% reduction up to a maximum of £110K.

Sunak added: “That is a business tax cut worth £1.7 billion. Together with small business rates relief this means that 90 per cent of all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses will see a discount of at least 50 per cent. Apart from the covid relief, this is the biggest single year tax cut to business rates in over 30 years. Taken together, this year’s Budget cuts business rates by £7 billion. This is the way to back business and build a strong economy.”

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