Business rates relief is to be extended with a £1.5 billion fund targeted at those businesses unable to benefit from the current coronavirus (COVID-19) support.

As part of a 15 month-long relief which runs to the end on June this year retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have not being paying any rates. However, many businesses ineligible for these reliefs have been appealing for discounts on their bills. They argue that the pandemic has represented a ‘material change of circumstance’ (MCC).

The government will be legislating to rule out COVID-19 related MCC appeals as they maintain that market-wide changes to property values, as seen with COVID-19, can only be properly considered at general rates revaluations.

The government is making efforts to ensure that support is provided to businesses in England in the fastest and fairest way possible. This comes in the form of a £1.5 billion pot across the country that will be distributed according to which sectors have suffered most economically, rather than on the basis of decreases in property values.

Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Rain Newton-Smith, said: ‘Relief on business rates through the crisis has offered a real fillip to retailers, hospitality and leisure struggling day-in, day-out.

‘This latest relief will now help some of the forgotten supply chain businesses hit indirectly by restrictions and offers more support to the devolved nations, so credit to the government for listening to the concerns of business.’

‘This extension to business rates relief will help many businesses as they begin to open up again. It allows businesses to make a good start on returning to normality before having to worry about whether they can pay their business rates.’

Nigel Holland