The Government had previously announced that the business rates relief discount was to continue for one year with effect from 1 April 2020.  They have now confirmed that the rate of discount for businesses with properties in England with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be increased from one third to 50% for one year.

In addition, in order to protect small retail, leisure and hospitality businesses from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak the business rate relief discount will be expanded to include them. As a result all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be exempt from paying business rates over the next financial year. This will include museums, galleries, gyms, nightclubs and guesthouses who were previously excluded from the relief.  This means any eligible retail, leisure or hospitality business with a rateable value below £51,000 will, over the next financial year, pay no business rates.

Other changes to the business rates relief discount announced in the budget include:-

• Pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 will have their discount increased from £1,000 to £5,000 for one year from 1 April 2020.

• The £1,500 business rates discount for local newspaper office space will be extended for a further 5 years to 31 March 2025.

• Local authorities will be fully compensated for the loss of income resulting from business rates measures.  The government is also launching a fundamental review of business rates, to report in Autumn 2020.

For further advice on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or your local Thomas Westcott office.

By Partner, Dale Simpson