Chancellor Philip Hammond has confirmed plans to give smaller retailers a 33% cut to business rates and introduced a new digital services tax for companies with at least £500m in global revenue.
The reduction in rates will take place over the next two years and is expected to save businesses £900m. This includes retail businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less. A Future High Streets Fund of £675m was also announced to help revive the high street, allowing local councils to invest in the improvements and redevelop of under-used retail and commercial areas into residential spaces.
Hammond also introduced a new digital services tax, which he said was not a tax on goods purchased online and would only be paid by businesses with a global revenue of £500m or more. This is likely to affect the likes of Amazon and Facebook and help the high street compete with strong online firms.
The chancellor announced there would be a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic, however, there are no plans to introduce a levy on disposable plastic cups. Hammond said: “I have concluded that a tax in isolation would not, at this point, deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable cups across all beverage types.”