Budget lets down small businesses once again, says Forum of Private Business

Business support organisation, the Forum of Private Business, has highlighted that the Chancellor has once again failed to address the issue of Business Rates properly, and missed the opportunity to create an immediate level playing field across small businesses, big businesses and online businesses.

Support for extended reliefs for the hospitality sector is welcomed, but other small businesses have been ignored.

Whilst supporting the focus on low pay, notwithstanding the pain that will be faced disproportionately by smaller businesses from the rise in the minimum wage and may drive some businesses to delay new job creation, Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum of Private Business comments, “The relief provided to businesses during the pandemic by postponing Business Rates saved many businesses from closing. To save our high streets those same businesses need that relief to continue. The 50% allowance for hospitality sector businesses is clearly welcomed, and providing reliefs for green investment is fine, but many of the retail shops that our communities rely on still face what they see as unfair business rates, and deferring the reviews until 2023 risks kicking the can down empty high streets.”

The FPB emphasises the impact on high street businesses of online business growth during the pandemic. The imposition of business rates on shops and offices, but less so on online businesses means that there is an imbalance on fair competition which threatens the life of the country’s high streets.

“The use of online services accelerated during the pandemic, quite understandably, and it is a shame that the Chancellor has not similarly accelerated a fair Business Rates regime across all levels of business,” adds Ian Cass

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