The 2017 Spring Budget was announced this week, with chancellor Philip Hammond outlining measures including £435m set aside for firms affected by increases in business rates, but retail industry representatives have described this amount as "inadequate" and "a drop in the ocean" compared with the £25bn the tax raises.
There will also be a £300m hardship fund for small businesses worst affected by the rates, which are set to change from April 1 in a move which has shaken the retail industry. Furthermore, any small business losing existing relief will have a £50 cap on increases.
The Budget also outlined a tax avoidance clampdown to the tune of £820m which will include action to stop businesses converting capital losses into trading losses, as well as tackling abuse of foreign pension schemes.
Mr Hammond said there would be a consultation on the best means to tax online businesses ahead of the next business rates revaluation. A further rise in the National Living Wage, to £7.50, was also announced which will be effective from April.
The British Retail Consortium reacted strongly to the Budget as it was announced, tweeting that it was “disappointing that a fundamental business rates overhaul won't be decided until [the] next revaluation.” The group also called the £435m relief fund “inadequate given the total annual rates bill for the retail industry is currently £7billion.”
Also announced in the Budget was a rise in National Insurance tax for self-employed people, a move which was criticized for “punishing those taking a chance with their own businesses.”
Read more on the story in the March 10 issue of DIY Week.