Budget 2017: Philip Hammond announces three measures to ease business rate burden - amounting to cuts of £435m

Any business coming out of small business rate relief will benefit from a cap which prevents the rate that it pays from going up by more than £50 per month

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Chancellor Philip Hammond on Wednesday announced three measures designed to ease the burden of business rates across the country, amounting to a giveaway of £435m over the next five years.

Mr Hammond  said that under the new measures, any business coming out of small business rate relief will benefit from a cap which prevents the rate that it pays from going up by more than £50 per month. He said that the government would also provide a £1,000 discount on business rates bills for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000, which includes 90 per cent of all pubs in England.

Details of how the fund will be allocated will be "set out in due course", the Chancellor said.

Finally, Mr Hammond said that he would provide local authorities with a £300m fund, to "deliver discretionary relief" in local areas.

"Taken together, this is a further £435m cut [...] targeted at those small businesses facing the biggest increases, protecting our pubs and giving local authorities the resources to respond flexibly to local circumstances," Mr Hammond said.

A host of business lobby groups including  the CBI, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Institute of Directors previously claimed hundreds of thousands of retailers, from shops, to cafes, to hotels, would be facing massive and unfair tax increases.

Critics claimed it is wrong that small companies should be hit by big increases when online retailers such as Amazon continue to benefit from lower rates on out-of-town warehouses.

Mr Hammond added that the government would "have to find a better way of taxing the digital part of the economy" and that he would set out the "our preferred approach" in relation to this, "in due course".  before the next revaluation is due.

Prime Minister Theresa May previously said the firms hit hardest by the business rates will get “appropriate relief”.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, the leading body representing retailers in the eating and drinking out sector, has been spearheading a concerted campaign over the past six month on business rates relief for pubs, bars and restaurants.

On Wednesday, Kate Nicholls, ALMR chief executive, said it is very encouraging to see the Government acknowledge and back the valuable work being carried out by the UK’s hardworking pubs, bars and restaurants.

"Sector-specific relief will help those businesses hardest hit by the revaluation. This much-needed Government support will save the sector over £24m and will help safeguard investment and jobs. We are pleased to see the Government acknowledge the issue and act positively to support a crucial growth champion and a sector with turnover of £60bn employing over 1.5 million people," Ms Nicholls said.

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