Chancellor suspends business rates for 12 months for ‘economic fight’

Rishi Sunak press conference

The chancellor has announced 12-month business rates holidays for all retailers and pubs as part of a sweeping set of measures designed to support business in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at the government’s daily coronavirus press briefing from 10 Downing Street, the chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak said he would be suspending the payment of business rates for all UK retailers, hospitality chains and theatres for 12-months.

Sunak also said that in order to offset the possibility of smaller businesses not being covered by insurance, he would provide cash grants of up to £25,000 per business to “help bridge through this period”.

In what effectively amounts to a second budget less than a week after delivering his first, Sunak unveiled a suite of government back loans and guarantees worth some £330bn, with the promise of more being made available should it be needed in the coming weeks and months.

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