Stoke Staffs LEP


Nearly 24,000 West Midlands retailers are set to benefit as £1 billion support for high streets and local firms kicks in.

As part of the Government’s long-term economic plan, the biggest package of business rate support in over 20 years to help high streets has gone live.

Many businesses already get hundred per cent discount as a result of Government policy. The tax changes that come into effect at the start of the new tax year mean nearly 300,000 eligible small shops in England will benefit further. In some case this could give a typical small shop, pub or restaurant with a rateable value of £10,000 savings of 30 per cent extra or more when compared to last year’s business rate bill.

In addition to the new business rate discounts, specially targeted to support small shops, all businesses can now choose to spread their bill payments over 12 monthly installments rather than ten after rules were changed to give businesses greater control over their cash flow.

Mr Pickles said that the new measures would make a huge difference for struggling small shop owners and help businesses and high streets across the country build a stronger economy.

Estimates published for the first time reveal where the shops eligible for the new £1,000 retail discount are located. They show an estimated 5,000 premises in Birmingham; 2,400 in Bradford; 3,900 in Cornwall; 3,000 in Leeds; and 3,290 in Manchester are now set to benefit, as well as shops and pubs in small rural and suburban communities. A full table is set out below.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:

“A key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan is to back business with lower taxes. Small shops are the lifeblood of local economies, and today’s changes will mean a massive boost to our town centres – helping to create more jobs and securing a better future for our children.

“A whole string of changes to business rates kick in today bringing new support to local shops, pubs and firms. In some cases shopkeepers could see their bills cut by a third extra or even more, which is worth thousands of pounds in tax breaks.

“Together with our sensible changes to planning rules and action to tackle unfair parking practices, we are helping local communities secure the future of their high streets.”

The news has been welcomed in the West Midlands where 23,750 retailers are expected to receive the retail relief.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership chairman Ron Dougan said:

“Small businesses and retailers play a vital role in our economic growth and this package of support for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire will help our LEP achieve its growth targets. The measures which come into effect today will give local businesses a chance to thrive in what remain challenging times. This will support the ongoing regeneration of our city and town centres which will help attract more visitors and investment.”

The full list of business rate support measures, unveiled by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement, that take effect on 1 April 2014 are:

  • a new reoccupation discount of 50% for 18 months for new occupants of retail premises that have previously been empty for a year or more
  • allowing businesses to pay their bills over 12 months (rather than 10), which will help every firm with their cash flow
  • a 2% cap on business rate inflation increase.
  • the new £1,000 business rates discount for local shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs (up to a Rateable Value of £50,000) estimated as more than £272 million of tax relief this year
  • the doubling of the extension of the small business rate relief until 31 March 2015, which will mean 360,000 business properties pay no bill at all.

The new reform on business rates payment options means a business with a rateable value of £20,000, making payments over 12 months instead of 10, would have lower monthly payments by over £160.

In addition, a new Employment Allowance takes effect which will mean 450,000 small businesses no longer have to pay employers national insurance contributions. Pubs are also benefiting from the further cuts in beer duty announced in the Budget.

From today councils, businesses and citizens can use these measures to shape the future of their local high street so it remains a vibrant, viable part of the community where people live, shop, use services, and spend their leisure time.

The Government has also introduced sensible changes to planning rules to get empty and redundant buildings back into productive use, and brought forward proposals to scrap unfair parking enforcement practices.

All these steps demonstrate the Government’s commitment to supporting businesses and helping communities to adapt their high streets so they can thrive in an online shopping age.

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