Today the Chancellor outlined his final Autumn budget before next years general election with some good news for rate payers. Below we go through the Chancellors main points.

The Chancellor started to discuss business rates with a rather vague and non-committal comment stating that a full ‘structural review’ of the system would take place. It is expected that any change in the system will be fiscally neutral, so the total sum collected wont change. This begs the question, what changes can be made to a system that still needs to collect the same amount of money as before? As many ratepayers will be aware, and as we reported in our earlier story here, the administrative process has already begun for the next rating list due to begin on 1st April 2017 and with business rates being one of the highest ‘earners’ for the government it’s not looking good for the overhawl campaigners are asking for.

Moving on to Small Business Rates Relief. This was doubled a few years ago, so any ratepayers occupying a single property with a rateable value under £6,000 (or two properties with rateable values under £2,600) will pay no rates and those with rateable values between £6,000 – £12,000 will have a sliding scale of relief from 100% – 0% applied. This scheme has been extended for a further year.

There is also good news for those retail properties that qualify for Retail Relief as this is also being extended for another year and has been increased to £1,500.

The multiplier used to calculate business rates, which normally increases in line with inflation has had any increase it in capped at 2%.

And finally, the Chancellor announced a full devolution of business rates to the Welsh government. Considering they already set their own multipliers and administer their own reliefs and collect rates direct to the welsh government this seems more like a formality than a surprise announcement.

Overall, a good budget announcement for ratepayers – especially small businesses, but with an election approaching they were hardly going to take reliefs away. Some may argue it doesn’t go far enough and the review of rates is vague, it will be interesting to see what happens come May 2015.

Posted on: 03/12/2014