Autumn Statement 2013: Chancellor to cap business rate rises

Closed High Street shops There was intense lobbying for a rethink on business rates by the chancellor

The chancellor will bid to boost firms and High Streets by capping increases in business rates in Thursday's Autumn Statement, the BBC has learned.

George Osborne will announce that rate rises will be limited to 2% in England and Wales next year instead of being linked to inflation.

He will also extend a scheme that offers rate relief to small businesses.

But he will stop short of a full review of a system widely seen as outdated, BBC correspondent Hugh Pym says.

This is despite calls for such a move by some industry groups, as well as Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Lost revenue

Business rates were set to rise by 3.2% next year, based as usual on the September retail prices index measure of inflation.

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The BBC will have full coverage of the Autumn Statement.

  • News Channel extensive coverage 08.30 - 21.30 GMT
  • BBC2 special programme 11.00 - 14.00 GMT
  • Radio 5 Shelagh Fogarty live from Westminster from 11.15 - 14.00 GMT

But there has been intense lobbying by business organisations for a rethink by the chancellor.

It is understood he will cap the increase at 2%, a move which will mean more than £300m of revenue is lost next year.

He will also announce the extension for another year of a scheme which gives small firms relief from rates liability.

Hugh Pym - BBC chief economics correspondent - said business rates were seen by many retailers as a crippling burden at a time when some High Streets were struggling.

Manufacturers wanting to expand felt the rates system could deter new investment, our correspondent added.

In Scotland, local councils will be able to adjust their own business rates relief packages to reflect local needs under a plan unveiled by the Scottish government earlier this year.

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