The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, delivered the Spring budget to Parliament on Wednesday 15th March.
So what does that mean for the world of business rates?
Whilst there are no sweeping reforms, the Government has made forward promises of devolution to allow Local Authorities to retain business rates proceeds and has announced a series of consultations.
The Chancellor has also announced a commitment to new ‘Investment Zones’. These will offer favourable rates to stimulate growth in economically challenged areas.
Here are the key takeaways:
- The Investment Zones programme aims to catalyse 12 high-potential knowledge-intensive growth clusters across the UK. These will have access to a single 5 year tax offer which includes relief from business rates.
- As part of the Government’s commitment to devolution, the scheme for the local retention of business rates will be extended to more areas (in the next Parliament).
- The Government is publishing a summary of responses to the Business Rates Review technical consultation. This reconfirms the commitment to the Non-Domestic Rating reform package and sets out detail on how this will be delivered.
- A consultation on providing ratepayers with more information on business rates valuations has been announced. The consultation seeks to gather further views and understand any concerns on how this might work in practice for ratepayers.
- A summary of responses to the consultation and impact assessment on the design of the Digitalising Business Rates (DBR) programme is set to be published. This document outlines the Government’s response to the feedback which includes a reduction in scope, new legislation to deliver DBR, and an integrated system for ratepayers to interact with central Government.
- Recognising concerns raised by stakeholders during the Business Rates Review, the Government will be consulting on measures to combat business rates avoidance and evasion.