Big welcome for Budget business rates move

Steve Brine says a move in this week’s Budget that ensures many small businesses will pay no business rates in the coming year is ‘heaven sent’.

The Chancellor, former Winchester College student Rishi Sunak MP, announced that companies with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the tax holiday. The measure applies to firms including shops, cinemas, restaurants and hotels. He also confirmed a Conservative manifesto commitment that to hold fundamental review, to be concluded at the autumn Budget, into the long-term future of business rates.

Mr Brine was out in Alresford this morning chatting with local businesses - and the Alresford Chamber of Commerce - about the announcement.

The Winchester & Chandler’s Ford MP, who has consistently campaigned for changes to the system of business rates, said; “The Covid-19 virus may have pushed this over the line but it was already badly needed by many businesses in our area, especially market towns such as Alresford where for many it really is heaven sent.

“We have argued for a long time that non-domestic rates are out of step with modern retail and the Government agrees. The commitment to a longer term review was crucial alongside this tax holiday because, as any small business owner knows, it’s easy to take something out of your budget but really hard to put something back in. We must find a fair and equitable replacement for rates before Spring 2021.”

Damon Barker from D.Barker and Son jewellers in West Street said; "As a small family run retail business we are delighted.  The current business rates system is not fit for purpose in this multi-channel age and we are especially grateful to Steve for all his efforts to continually lobby his colleagues in Government on behalf of the business owners of Alresford these past few years.  We hope that this very welcome measure provides the impetus for Government to consider wider reform of Business Rates in the future."

Fiona Isaacs from Alresford Chamber of Commerce added; “This comes at a much needed and difficult time for our businesses locally. We look forward to a new review of the business rates moving forward and the process in general. Whilst this is excellent news, we are mindful of the impending parking review taking place. We hope that this review does not make the situation worse for our town. The Town needs to keep its limited free parking spots but we welcome more enforcement with the current restrictions to help with unauthorised parking within the town.

Pictured; Steve Brine with (left to right); Damon Barker, Sharon Pendlebury from Tiffin Tea Rooms and Fiona Isaacs from the Alresford Chamber.

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Budget 2020

Alresford Chamber of Commerce

Tiffin Tea Rooms

D Barker and Son