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BIRA slams removal of business rates discount

Published: 30 November 2015
Independent retailers are being warned that pain for the high street is set to continue after the Chancellor did away with the £1,500 business rates discount in last week's Autumn Statement.
BIRA slams removal of business rates discount
Responding to George Osborne's announcement, the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) also reiterated its call for business rates reform.

Over the past two years most small shops have benefited from the £1,500 discount on premises with a rateable value of £50,000 or less (the average rateable value of shops in England and Wales is £27,290), and BIRA says the loss of this will hit most small shops hard.

However, the Chancellor also announced that the structural review of business rates will not now be revealed until the Budget, reverting to the original plan.

BIRA ceo Alan Hawkins commented: "This will hurt high streets as soon as April next year, and small shops will see bills rise even higher than they already would have as the rates multiplier will increase then as well.

"Committing to announce the conclusions of the reform review in the Budget at least gives us a date to concentrate on and a chance for the government to adopt BIRA's reform proposals."

He continued: "Make no mistake, high street pain is not over, vacancy rates are still more than twice pre-crash levels and more small shops are now closing than are opening.

"The Chancellor must make sure that the next rabbit he pulls out of the hat is real, positive, long-term reform of this crippling tax. It would help if he also reinstated the £1,500 discount in the Budget."

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