Business rates

  1. Warning of ‘big challenge’ on business rates relief

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Hackney Council’s chief finance mandarin has warned of a “big challenge” looming on unaffordable business rates in the borough.

    Director of finance and corporate resources Ian Williams was speaking as he presented a medium-term financial forecast to councillors on the borough’s influential audit committee, against a background of “uncertainty” he described as unprecedented in his time in the job.

    The council has to date paid out £70m in grants to businesses as well as awarding £50m in the form of business rate relief, but speaking ahead of the government’s call for evidence for a fundamental review of the tax Mr Williams cautioned businesses could feel the impact if government were not to carry relief policies over to the next financial year.

    He said: “In the current financial year, in addition to the substantial amount of grants that we paid out to businesses to effectively keep them going, we’ve also awarded substantial sums of business rate relief, where the bill gets reduced.

    “I think we can all see when we go out that, while the economy is starting to open up again in Hackney, whether it is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, it is still not opening back up to the level it was in back in pre-Covid worlds, either due to people not being out as much or having enough money to spend, but also from the impact of having to put in place different arrangements for social distancing.

    “The double whammy for businesses will be having less income and higher costs. The big challenge I fear that could come down the tracks very soon, and hopefully will be addressed in the spending review, is that the business rates reliefs that we have been able to provide this year are continued into the next financial year."

    The next revaluation for business rates will take effect in April of 2023, and will be based on property values as at the same month of 2021 in order to reflect the impact from the pandemic.

    The Treasury has said that its fundamental review aims to reduce the “overall burden” on businesses, while aiming for improvements of the transitional relief scheme.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Andrew Hogarth runs a nursery in Manchester. He's disappointed not to get rates relief

    Business rates on small businesses will be abolished for one year in heavily-hit sectors like retail and hospitality but nurseries are disappointed not to be included.

  3. Nursery boss "very surprised" not to be included in rates relief

    Video content

    Video caption: Andrew Hogarth runs a nursery in Manchester. He's disappointed not to get rates relief

    Business rates on small businesses will be abolished for one year in heavily-hit sectors like retail and hospitality but nurseries are disappointed not to be included.

  4. Public redundancy bill hits seven-year high

    People walk past a store with the words 'Closing down sale 20% off everything' painted on the window

    Taxpayers funded a surge in redundancy payments last year after a spate of High Street shop and restaurant failures,saccording to property advisor Altus Group.

    The amount paid out by the government's Insolvency Service rose to its highest level in seven years, figures obtained by the group show.

    It follows a number of high-profile failures, including Mothercare and Thomas Cook.

    As a result, the Insolvency Service picked up a £346m bill, Altus says.

    That was 16% higher than in 2018.

    A freedom of information request by the real estate consultancy revealed that £223m of last year's bill covered redundancy payments.

    Another £64m was for money that would have been earned if staff had worked a notice period.