Small businesses across the UK will have their business rates bills reimposed as Business Rates Relief are set to end in April
As the pandemic continues to hit businesses hard, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is now urging the government to extend business rates relief to 2022 to help firms struggling during the pandemic. They are also calling for the government to further support businesses and stay afloat during this difficult time.
The FSB has called the extend the retail, hospitality and leisure 100% relief for another 12 months to April 2022. They are also calling on the government to establish a revenue test so business rates relief is extended to those in the supply chain who’ve been impacted by the pandemic. They are also calling for an increase the number of small businesses who can claim business rates relief by moving the threshold to £25,000 from £12,000.
“Over the past year, small businesses right across the nation have seen their finances upended, placed staff on furlough while others have been forced to make difficult decisions about their futures,” FSB National Chair Mike Cherry said. “However, despite all this, and in the midst of a third national lockdown, these same small firms on the high street will now start to receive letters from their local authorities asking for business rates to be paid for the next financial year.
“For too long the business rates system has been outdated and regressive, and the ongoing pandemic has only highlighted the need for serious reform in the months ahead. But over the past few months, many small firms have benefited from the retail hospitality and leisure relief which has helped to ensure businesses don’t go under and jobs are saved.
“But with this due to end in April, and with the economic situation set to remain turbulent for many months to come, it is imperative that the Government extends this rates relief. However, we must also address the ongoing issue surrounding those who have been left with little support. The retail, hospitality and leisure business rates relief does not encompass the whole sector. Thousands of small businesses in the supply chain have lost the same trade, but have not been allowed to access the same relief. These small firms are struggling just as equally and need to be offered the same levels of support to safeguard their long-term futures.
Mr Cherry called on the government to extend support to other industries and help firms path their way to recovery. “In addition to this extending support to those in other sectors outside of retail, hospitality and leisure such as the manufacturing industry which will have seen orders cancelled and put on hold,” Mr Cherry said. It would be hugely unfair to slap small firms with large business rates bills at a time when many won’t see their incomes rise for months to come, which is why this extension is needed for at least another 12 months.
“Not only do we want to see the retail hospitality and leisure relief extended, but we think it is important to widen the net of those who can claim small business rates relief. Up until now, the full relief was available for those with a rateable value of up to £12,000, we want to see this widen to include those up to £25,000. This would be a genuine relief to thousands of extra firms who are struggling to make ends meet at a time of national crisis.
“Our small businesses on the high street are the beating heart of our communities and will also be crucial to the whole nation’s recovery, but slapping regressive business rates bills on them will only undo any hard work they’ve done to keep running. The government must make big decisions for small businesses, and this would be one important step to helping firms onto the path to recovery.”