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Government clarifies details of new business rates relief

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published guidance on the details of how business rates discounts first announced in this year’s Budget will be allocated.

During the Budget on 29 October, chancellor Philip Hammond announced that businesses with a rateable value of under £51,000 would receive a third discount on their rates bills. The guidance published by MHCLG confirmed the discount will be available to eligible businesses for the years 2019/20 and 2020/21.

While the exact eligibility criteria is to be determined by local authorities, the guidance has included petrol stations and post offices within the definition of businesses that are “wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments”. However, ATMs are not included.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), an organisation which represents 33,500 over local shops, welcomed the new guidance.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome clarification from the government on the details of this new business rates relief, which could save the convenience sector tens of millions over the next two years and help thousands of retailers trading on high streets, towns and villages across England. Business rates remain one of the biggest fixed costs for many retailers, so this discount will provide much needed extra cash to help stores invest.”

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