Autumn Statement provides some relief

The Autumn Statement has heralded some further good news for small business owners says commercial property agent Prop-Search.

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that Small Business Rates Relief is again to be extended.  Eligible businesses, those occupying premises with Rateable Values up to £6,000, will now pay no business rates until 01 April 2013.

Businesses occupiers whose Rateable Values are between £6,001 and £12,000 will also be entitled to small business rates relief on a sliding scale between 50 per cent and 0 per cent.  So, for example, if the Rateable Value is £9,000, rates payable will be reduced by 25 per cent.

Larger businesses will be able to defer 60 per cent of the rates increase, due to come into effect in April 2012, across the following two years.  The increase in business rates, paid by all non-domestic properties, is calculated based on the previous September’s Retail Prices Index (RPI).  In September this year RPI hit 5.6 per cent, which would have meant rates increase by this percentage from April next year.

Samantha Jones a Surveyor at Prop-Search said: “While these measures are a step in the right direction, there is certainly more that could be done, and in particular the continued imposition of 100% rates liability on long term unoccupied commercial properties.  This tax was originally introduced to encourage landlords to reduce rents but has largely failed in a market where oversupply is rife.  The potential rates liability is acting as a further barrier to speculative development.”