Britain’s high streets have been dwindling in recent years. Rising business tax, popularity in online shopping and high rental costs have seen some of the UK’s biggest retail stores face collapse.
Britain’s high streets have been dwindling in recent years. Rising business tax, popularity in online shopping and high rental costs have seen some of the UK’s biggest retail stores face collapse. Now, the government has pledged to cut business rates in a bid to support small businesses, the Queen announced in her speech - and SMEs are thrilled about the news.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new government has pledged to “bring forward changes to business rates” to benefit small businesses across the UK. Pubs, cinemas, shops and hairdressers across Britain will see their business rates slashed by half next year, in a new series of measures aimed to remove the financial burden off small businesses.
On Thursday, the Queen’s speech outlined the government’s agenda for the year to increase the rates discount for small stores. Small firms with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive a rise in rates discount from one-third to 50% in the year 2020/2012 - allowing them to save up to £12,500. According to the government, nine out of 10 independent firms will qualify for the new rates, including independent cinemas and local music venues. The government has also committed to a fundamental review of business rates and to revaluate the rates every three years instead of every five years.
Small businesses across the UK are thrilled about the new changes and welcome the government’s commitments to help companies thrive in a time of rising Brexit uncertainty. Local shops now have the opportunity to continue operations with a reduced burden of cost, bringing a helping hand to Britain’s struggling high streets.
“After what may have been one of the most defining general elections of our time, it’s encouraging to see the newly elected Government make its first steps in supporting the high street,” Chirag Shah, CEO, Nucleus Commercial Finance said. “For too long the business rate system has been putting high cost pressures on retailers; this is one of the reasons why we have seen the decline of the high street in recent years. This has also been amplified by ongoing Brexit uncertainty.”
Mr Shah hopes the government will continue supporting SMEs and putting them at forefront, which provide the backbone to Britain’s economy.
“We welcome today’s plans outlined by the Government as it will enable Britain’s small businesses to invest in their futures and ultimately stand the test of time. We urge those in the House to continue to pledge their support for small businesses for the benefit of the entire country and to strengthen the UK economy.”
High street stores have seen their biggest loss in decades, with nearly 3,000 stores shutting down in the first half of this year. As the government spearheads initiatives to help local retailers, UK’s high streets could see a new revival in time to come.