The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed the Treasury’s decision to increase discount rates for small retailers from one-third to 50 per cent. Bira, which represents the thousands of retail businesses across the UK, says the move will save its members on average £12,000 per year.
The victory follows Bira’s three-year campaign to review the outdated and unfair rates system.
The increase in the level of the discount will apply in 2020/21 for eligible retail businesses occupying a property with a rateable value less than £51,000. Now Bira is calling for the discount increase to be made permanent; the original 30 per cent discount was set to run until 2021.
Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO, said: “This is really good news for a large proportion of our members and small retailers in general. It is a victory for our campaign to reduce rates for the smaller retailers. We now need to make it a permanent change as the original 30 per cent discount was set to run until 2021.”
All reliefs are subject to state aid rules and apply in England only. The Government confirms that it will fully fund local authorities for awarding these reliefs and provide new burdens funding to local authorities for administrative and IT costs.
Local authorities should start preparations to include these changes now, and act promptly to ensure eligible business receive the increased support in their rates bills at the start of the financial year.
The Government expects local authorities to ensure these changes are applied for the start of the 2020/21 billing period. The Government will publish amended guidance for the retail discount reflecting these changes as well as refreshed pubs relief guidance for local authorities.