Buoyed by recent economic figures, an ebullient Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced today’s Autumn Statement as the, “Autumn Statement for Growth”, in which he pledged to reduce debt, cut taxes and reward work. The tone was however, tempered on business rates.
A welcome commitment in today’s statement is the extension of the current Expanded Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme. The scheme operates a 75% discount in business rates up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business, although this threshold means that it is only of real benefit to operators with a single property or a small portfolio of lower value property.
Whilst Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the Small Business multiplier will be frozen for a fourth year in a row at 49.9p (for occupied premises with a rateable value less than £51,000) from 1 April 2024, the Standard Multiplier will increase to 53.2p in £1, reflecting the annual CPI figure at September 2023 of 6.7%.
There was no mention as to whether the Small Business Rate Relief supplement is to be frozen at 1.3p. As things stand, premises with a rateable value of £51,000 or more will attract a multiplier of 54.5p in £1. Premises in Greater London with a rateable value of £75,000 or more attract an additional 2p in £1 for the “Cross Rail” supplement, which will mean their bills are based on 56.5p in £1. The City of London has unique powers to set its own supplement and this is currently 1.4p in £1, meaning a typical City office will pay 57.9p in £1 from 1 April 2024.
Whilst on the face of it this is generally disappointing news, it was expected. In last year’s Autumn Statement the Chancellor delivered a number of positive pledges, including the abolition of downwards transitional relief. These measures are all part of the wider piece, being the introduction of three yearly revaluations from April 2023 and further planned changes to the business rates system.
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