With non-essential retail stores closed, and not set to reopen until 12 April 2021 at the earliest, those retailers affected were desperate for some support from the Chancellor in his Budget today. There was certainly some positive news with the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to September 2021 and the additional business rates relief, but will it be enough for those struggling retailers, hospitality and leisure providers?
There was further relief for business property occupiers as the Chancellor confirmed that the current 100% business rates holiday will be extended from the end of March until the end of June 2021. After that date, the rates will further be discounted by two-thirds for the rest of the year.
This news will be welcome relief, particularly by the retail, hospitality and leisure sector who are significant property occupiers and are still badly affected by the pandemic.
One of the challenges for the Chancellor in the building of our future economy is whether business rates are still fit for purpose. The need to complete the fundamental review of business rates is more pressing than ever.
The announcement of a £5 billion package of support for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors at the weekend is to be welcomed, but without a corresponding increase in the State Aid limits, many of the hardest hit retailers will be unable to benefit from this support.
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