• Plan to cut uniform business rate confirmed 
  • However mayors will be able to raise fees as well as lower them
  • Overall review of business rates will not be finalised until next Budget
  • Big firms will pay new apprenticeship levy of 0.5% 
  • Osborne scraps plan to cut tax credits

Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed plans to scrap the uniform business rate but said mayors will be able to increase rates.

However during his autumn statement and spending review today, Osborne said he will not report back on an overall review of business rates until the next Budget. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Chancellor confirmed his plan revealed last month to devolve powers on business rates to local authorities and abolish the uniform business rate. He admitted though that mayors could raise rates under certain circumstances.

Directly elected mayors, if they win the support of a majority vote at the Local Enterprise Partnership, are able to add a “premium” to business rates in order to pay for new infrastructure.

Separately, the Government is carrying out a long-awaited review of business rates. Reports suggested the Government will report back by the end of the year. However Osborne said today he will reveal the results of the review in his next Budget in March.

The delay is likely to disppoint many in the retail industry, who have been campaigning for a review.

Meanwhile, Osborne said the Government’s small busines rate relief scheme will be extended for another year, which will help 600,000 small firms.

Apprenticeship levy

Meanwhile, the Chancellor revealed plans to introduce an apprenticeship levy to pay for the cost of training for young people. Companies will recieve a £15,000 allowance to offset the levy and only those with a wage bill of more than £3m will pay.  

Osborne also unveiled plans to create 26 new enterprise zones.

The Chancellor also announced he will scrap his plans to cut tax credits. The move could boost retailers as those affected have more disposable income.