Business rates holiday extension vital to prevent mass exodus from West End

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An extension beyond next April of the existing business rates holiday or a reduction of rates by at least half is the only thing that will stop hundreds of retailers deciding to quit the West End in September, according to the New West End Company (NWEC).

Chief executive Jace Tyrrell has warned that either a 50% cut in business rates or an extension of the current holiday period for a further 12 months from April 1, 2021, is required to stop hundreds of retailers quitting the central London area next year. 

“We need to sort out business rates. It’s not what happens on April 1, but what is decided in September of this year. I know there are hundreds of businesses in the West End that are going to decide whether to stay or leave depending on what happens with business rates.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak suspended all business rates payments for retailers, hospitality businesses and theatres for 12 months in late March, in response to the then gathering coronavirus crisis. He also pledged that the government’s fundamental review of business rates would be published ahead of the autumn statement. 

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