‘Retail can ill afford another business rates review that fizzles out’

Robert Hayton

As night follows day, the beginning of another financial year also brings another government review into business rates reform. However, with the sector reeling from the coronavirus, this latest call for evidence gives reasons for optimism.

There have already been 156 policy papers and consultations published on business rates in England in the last decade – including previous major reviews by the Treasury, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Treasury Select Committee within the last five years.

Despite this, the government’s approach this time around builds on its manifesto commitment at the last general election to reduce the overall burden on businesses. A distinct difference to previous revenue-neutral reviews.

Coupled with how the chancellor has harnessed the business rates system to help negate the economic impact of coronavirus through £22.5bn of support with rates holidays and grants, there are reasons to be optimistic.

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