Ashleigh Phillips, associate at Bruton Knowles said “The chancellor delivered an unusually jovial Budget speech, cracking jokes at the expense of the opposition, but many businesses will fail to see the funny side of some of the measures proposed by the Government.
“The subject of business rates was almost given top billing, with Philip Hammond appearing to finally answer calls from business and the property industry for a review of the current system.
“The Government will ‘set out its preferred approach’ before the next revaluation. Until then we’ll just have to wait in anticipation.
“One thing the chancellor did acknowledge was the need to find a suitable way of taxing digital and online businesses who don’t occupy traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ properties.
“Any reforms to the business rates system need to reflect the changing business landscape and take into consideration the type of business in occupation and not just the space they occupy at a snapshot in time.
“There was some good news for small businesses. In addition to confirming the Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), which exempts businesses occupying premises with a rateable value of less than £12,000 from paying business rates, would be in place permanently, rates for businesses coming out of SBBR will be capped at £50 per month.
“Pubs can take some small comfort following his announcement that those with a rateable value of £100,000 – 90 per cent of the country’s pubs – will receive a £1,000 discount.
“Local authorities will also get a share of £300 million discretionary relief fund.
“In total, the measures being introduced amount to a £435 million cut in business rates. However, this will be of scant relief to those businesses who from 1st April face significant increases in their rates bills.”