Business rates retail discount – The government has already announced that, for one year from 1 April 2020, the business rates retail discount for properties with a rateable value below £51,000 in England will increase from one third to 50% and will be expanded to include cinemas and music venues. To support small businesses in response to Covid-19 the retail discount will be increased to 100% and expanded to include hospitality and leisure businesses for 2021. (26)
Business rates pubs discount – The government previously committed to introducing a £1,000 business rates discount for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 in England for one year from 1 April 2020. To further support pubs, in response to Covid-19 the discount for pubs will be increased to £5,000. (27)
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 – The government will bring forward legislation as soon as possible in this session to provide mandatory 100% business rates relief for standalone public lavatories in England from April 2020.
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 launching a fundamental review of business rates to report in the autumn. The Terms of Reference for this review are published alongside this Budget and a call for evidence will be published in the spring.
Valuation Office Agency (VOA) business systems transformation programme – The government will invest an additional £11.5 million in the VOA in 2020-21 to support the modernisation of VOA systems and processes, to increase efficiency and improve customer service in the future.