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UK overhauls business rates to boost investment

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By Reuters
UK overhauls business rates to boost investment
UK overhauls business rates to boost investment   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p>By Kate Holton</p> <p><span class="caps">LONDON</span> – British finance minister Rishi Sunak overhauled business rates on Wednesday, cutting the rate for the pandemic-hit retail and hospitality sector, halting a planned annual increase and incentivising green property investments. </p> <p>Setting out his budget to parliament, Sunak said he could not abolish a tax that raises 25 billion pounds ($34 billion) a year but he would try to ease the burden on businesses such as pubs, shops, restaurants, gyms, cinemas and leisure centres.</p> <p>Business rates are charged on commercial premises based on the value of the property, a system that business owners have long blamed for giving an unfair cost advantage to online retailers such as Amazon.</p> <p>Sunak said under the new system property valuations would be reviewed every three years, rather than every five, the business rates multiplier would be frozen for a second year and there would be a one-year 50% discount for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure.</p> <p>A new relief will also be given to companies investing in green technologies, such as solar panels and heat pumps. </p> <p>“Apart from the <span class="caps">COVID</span> reliefs, this is the biggest single-year cut to business rates in 30 years,” Sunak told parliament. “Taken together, today’s budget cuts business rates by 7 billion pounds.” </p> <p>Sunak’s Treasury department had been reviewing the unpopular business rate system, which was suspended during the pandemic for the worst-hit sectors. </p> <p>Kate Nicholls, the head of UK Hospitality, said on Twitter that the changes were really good news. </p> <p>($1 = 0.7272 pounds)</p> <p/> </div>