Tim Burbidge, Partner in the Real Estate Group at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson and specialist in development and regeneration, explained the business rates discount the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in the Spring Statement this afternoon isn’t new but the same promise he made in his autumn 2021 budget.

Tim said:

“In the current circumstances all cuts in business rates are welcome but disappointingly this business rates discount of 50% for small and medium sized retail, hospitality and leisure businesses is not new, it's repetition.

“Businesses will already have factored the business rates discounts into cost plans so this will not help support businesses facing rising employer national insurance costs, soaring utility bills, and cost increases due to rising inflation.

“In terms of levelling up town centres and communities, this discount might benefit high streets more than out of town, being capped at a rateable value of £110,000 but is not targeted to help the smaller independent businesses that need more imaginative fiscal measures designed to support them to stay open. These cuts are also temporary, which is no good when the goal is long-term regeneration.

“Businesses are still paying rates based on rents determined by valuations carried out in 2017, long before the pandemic and before retailers’ challenges really started to bite. The government had a revaluation scheduled for 2021 but it was postponed.

“Business rates are stifling regeneration, for that to change a bold vision is needed from the ‘tax-cutting Chancellor’, but so far the calls for an overhaul of the business rates system continue to be ignored.”