Some Festive Cheer For Small Businesses, Says Specialist

Today’s Autumn Statement announcement on business rates for small businesses will bring some festive cheer to the high street, according to a national tax specialist.

TaxAssist Accountants’ Jo Nockels said that the announcement in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that business rate increases would be limited to 2% next year, rather than linked to inflation, which would have meant a 3.2% increase, was a step in the right direction for many local firms and plans to incentivise occupying vacant premises was further good news.

Nockels added: “The 2% cap is a step which will be welcomed by many localsmall businesses, together with the news that small firms rate relief is to be extended for another year for businesses in England.

“The £1,000 small shops discount for retail premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000, is also good news for many small retailers, pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops and halving the rate for reoccupying premises which have been vacant for 18 months is a strong incentive for entrepreneurs across England who are planning to return to the high street.

“We would ideally have liked to see a freeze on business rates pending a reform of the rating system, which would have been a significant benefit to all small businesses, but these are positive steps forward.

"Business rates are a significant burden for many localbusiness owners, with more than 37% highlighting it as a serious concern in a recent survey we conducted with our network of 46,000 small business clients, so relieving that burden is essential.

“Cancelling next year’s planned fuel duty increase will benefit many service providers and trades people who make home visits – their cars and vans are a vital part of their service, not a luxury and they can’t absorb the cost of fuel increases. The National Insurance concession for firm’s employing people aged under-21, which comes into effect in April 2015 is also a positive step for small businesses that are looking to recruit.”