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Tens of thousands of England’s retail, leisure and hospitality firms will not pay any business rates in the coming year, the chancellor has announced.
Companies with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the tax holiday, Rishi Sunak said.
The measure applies to firms including shops, cinemas, restaurants and hotels.
It is part of a package of “extraordinary” measures to support the UK economy in the face of disruption from the coronavirus outbreak.
“That is a tax cut worth over £1bn, saving each business up to £25,000,” Mr Sunak said.
Business rates are a tax on properties that are used for commercial purposes, and are charged based on an estimate of what it would cost to rent the property on the open market: the “rateable value”.
Mr Sunak described the business rates holiday as an “exceptional step” that would benefit museums, art galleries, theatres, caravan parks, gyms, small hotels, sports clubs and night clubs, all of whom will be hard hit if customers stay away to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Media captionRishi Sunak said the policy would help businesses deal with impact of coronavirus
The chancellor said the business rates system as a whole would be reviewed, with the conclusions published in the autumn. Firms in England have campaigned for several years for the system to be reformed, arguing it makes it hard for bricks and mortar retailers to compete with online rivals.
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