Online shopping has helped deliver cheaper prices for consumers, but many customers like to visit shops and we will continue to make the case for cuts to ensure that shopkeepers can keep their doors open.
With high streets across the UK in steady decline, in November 2012, we launched a dedicated Freeze Business Rates campaign to urge the Chancellor to give high streets a much needed break. We held action days in Bath, Grantham, Goring on Thames, Cottingham and Southend to help support local businesses.
We also campaigned against empty property rates as part of this effort. Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown had decided that businesses had to pay full business rates on an empty commercial property just three months after it became vacant. That was too short a window for many businesses to either sell the property or find new tenants, and in many cases it led to a much more destructive decision – tearing down the property.
After research and campaigning by the TPA, the 2013 Autumn Statement pledged to cap the increase in business rates in England, introduce a discount of £1,000 and double small business rate relief for another 12 months.
During the covid pandemic, the government stepped up to help out hard hit small businesses by introducing measures to help them with business rates in particular. They:
- introduced a 100 per cent rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors for the first three months of the 2021/22 tax year;
- set a 66 per cent rates relief for the remaining 9 months of the tax year.
We hosted two events with business leaders and senior politicians that year to discuss how we could further help high streets, which you can watch back here:
From April 2022, the government is introducing a 50 per cent discount on rates up to £110,000 - worth £1.7 billion - and has frozen the business rates multiplier for 2022/23 - worth £4.6 billion over the next five years.
In the 2022 Queen’s Speech, the government committed to shortening the business rates revaluation cycle from five to three years from 2023. This will ensure the rate is more closely aligned to current market conditions, creating a fairer system for businesses. Another win for the TaxPayers’ Alliance and more importantly, for businesses.
These changes have significantly helped businesses in a real time of need, but we will continue to campaign for permanent changes to business rates to help British businesses.
You can read our research on business rates here:
You can read more of our blogs on the issue here: