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Budget 2020: Business rates bonanza

11 March 2020: there are a number of provisions in Budget 2020 to help businesses cope with COVID-19 which expand upon measures previously announced.

Business rates retail discount: The business rates retail discount for properties with a rateable value below £51,000 in England will be increased to 100% and will be expanded to include hospitality and leisure businesses for 2021. 

The government had already announced that, for one year from 1 April 2020, the retail discount would increase from one third to 50% and would be expanded to include cinemas and music venues.

Business rates pubs discount: To support pubs, the business rates discount for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 in England will be increased to £5,000.

The government had previously committed to introducing a £1,000 business rates discount for such pubs for one year from 1 April 2020.

Business rates local newspaper office space discount: The £1,500 business rates discount for office space used by local newspapers in England will be extended for an additional five years until 31 March 2025.

Business rates public lavatories relief: 100% business rates relief will apply to standalone public lavatories in England from April 2020.

Small business grant funding: for the 700,000 businesses who pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief, a grant of £3,000 will be available.

Compensation for local authorities: Local authorities will be fully compensated for the loss of income as a result of these business rates measures.

Business rates review: The government is undertaking a fundamental review of business rates. The terms of reference have been published; there will be a call for evidence in Spring 2020 and the review will report in Autumn 2020.