Partner at Bruton Knowles Nottingham office James Bailey said: “Today, the Chancellor used the Autumn Spending review to reiterate his plans for a ‘devolution revolution’, whereby business rates will be decentralised and local councils in England will have more control on how they are administered, without the interference of central government.
“As part of this new deal, the Government has agreed to allow local councils keep the rates they collect from business, as well as giving councils the power to cut business rates to boost growth. Cities with an elected mayor will have the power to levy a business rates premium for local infrastructure projects.
“Furthermore, the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) will be abolished, giving local areas the ability to cut business rates as much as they like in order to create jobs and generate wealth. However, with local authorities able to reduce rates and multiples from 2020, more clarity is required on what happens between April 2017 and 2020.
“In terms of supporting small businesses, many will be breathing a sigh of relief following the announcement that the Small Business Rate Relief will be extended for a further year from 1 April 2016. However, it would have been good to see more support for high street retailers, who are now facing the prospect of a 17.2 per cent rise in business rates next April after the retail relief scheme ends in March.
“This is a major blow for small retailers who are the lifeblood of Britain’s high streets.
“Finally, having promised that the review into the business rates system would be concluded by the end of the year, we are now being told that it will not be finalised until the spring budget. Whilst it is good that the review is still going ahead, it needed to happen sooner. Let’s hope the Chancellor doesn’t move the goal posts again in the New Year.”