The PRA has welcomed an upgrading of the discount on business rates announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
The discount scheme, which was introduced in the 2013 Autumn Statement, provided £1,000 discount for premises involved with retail, food and drink subject to a rateable value (RV) of £50,000 or less for the two years of 2014/15 and 2015/16.
The scheme has now been increased by £500 for the final year 2015/16 when the total discount will be £1,500 for eligible premises.
PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “PRA was instrumental in ensuring that HM Treasury included petrol filling stations in the eligible list of premises. Independent retailers should have obtained this discount through their local authority – subject to EU State Aid limits.”
Referring to this year’s increase he added: “Again, PRA has been instrumental in drawing government’s attention to the need to further soften business rates leading directly to this welcome discount increase.”
A commitment by the Chancellor to a review of business rates was also welcomed by other trade associations.
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience, said: “We are delighted that the Chancellor has listened to our concerns on business rates by committing to a full review. Local shops will welcome the 2% cap on rates increases and the extension of the higher threshold for small business rate relief, alongside the increased £1,500 rates discount for shops on the high street. We are committed to rates reform that works for local shops and will play a full part in the review in the coming months.”
NFRN chief executive, Paul Baxter, commented: “The NFRN has long argued that reform of the business rates system is desperately needed, therefore we are happy that a review will take place.
“The system is no longer fit for purpose and many agree that changes need to be made. We hope that the review will provide a more viable solution that accounts for the many different types of business that now exist and we will be writing to the government to offer our assistance and ensure the interests of independents are taken into account.”