John Webber, Colliers International’s Birmingham-based national head of rating, said:

“The Chancellor’s announcement on Small Business Rate Relief is welcome and an acknowledgement that Empty Property Rates (EPR) are stifling construction is also helpful.  However, despite good news for office buildings in London and one or two other large developments around the country, there was not a lot to help the High Street.
“The 2015 Rating Revaluation would have helped hundreds of thousands of retailers throughout the country - it is a shame that the High Street appears to be the Tiny Tim of this year’s Christmas Carol!”

Commenting on the implications for the leisure sector, Paul Hands, a director in Colliers International’s licenced leisure team in Birmingham, said:

“The Chancellor’s decision to cancel January’s 3p fuel increase will bring a drop of seasonal cheer to leisure operators as their customers feel fractionally better off.  Therefore we won’t see the usual Budget ‘double whammy’ of fuel and alcohol duty increases, leading to the increased cost of a pint.

“An extension of the small business rates relief scheme will help a few of the smallest pub and restaurants, and the reduction in corporation to tax to 21 per cent will please those at the other end of the scale, but most leisure and hospitality businesses will see little upside from today’s statement.

“George Osborne’s confirmation of reduced growth forecasts will come as no surprise to those struggling to keep attracting customers and their cash, and although the long term infrastructure projects will create leisure development opportunities, the lack of debt funding still remains a massive brake on investment in the leisure sector as a whole.”