The report of the government’s review of business rates will now be published in the autumn, it has been announced.
Government will publish the final report later in the year, instead of in next month’s Budget, when there is ‘more economic certainty and ‘long-term clarity on the state of the economy and public finances’, HM treasury confirmed this morning.
The government, in the run up to the General Election in 2019, promised a fundamental review of business rates, and announced plans for this review at last year’s spring budget.
A call for evidence was published in July 2020 and closed late last year, with the government now ‘considering responses’.
An interim report, which will include a summary of responses to the call for evidence, will be now be published on 23 March.
The hospitality sector has consistently called for business rates relief to continue past the current March 31 cut-off, stressing that it will be key to the survival of many businesses.
Pressure mounted on Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week to follow Scotland’s lead and extend the holiday for another 12 months.
At the end of December, borrowing pushed the national debt to £2.1tn, or about 99.4% GDP, the highest debt ratio since 1962.
At the upcoming Budget, the Chancellor will outline the next stages to support businesses and families across the UK.
Reacting to the news, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The business rates system as it relates to hospitality has been broken for some time. It is an antiquated system of tax that bears almost no relation to the realities of business in the 21st Century. It needs addressing, so a delay in the review is obviously a disappointment.
“If it must be delayed, then it is absolutely vital that the Government uses the extra time to ensure it gets this right. After the misery of last year, a properly functioning, equitable rates system is now more critical than ever. In the meantime, there is now no reason why the business rates holiday should not be extended for another year. Extend this support, along with the VAT cut, at the Budget, then deliver a whole new rates system that no longer unfairly penalises our sector.”