Business rates experts at Colliers International have called for the Government to consider and to fund a system of “discretionary rate relief” for businesses impacted by the Coronavirus- as one of the measures to alleviate business pain in this week’s Budget 2020.
Against a background in which may see space “under-utilised” as shoppers keep away from stores and restaurants, warehousing for imported goods stay empty and increasingly office staff stay at home, Colliers believes the Budget would be a good opportunity for the Government to provide this emergency relief.
Currently “discretionary rate relief” can be granted under Section 44A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, but this is currently funded by the Billing Authority, (Local Authorities) who, given constraints already on local finances, are reluctant to award. Colliers suggests the Government should take this under central control and support businesses struggling following coronavirus, with a discretion relief, centrally funded.
As John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers said, “Already we are starting to see the economic impact of Covid-19, with a falling stock market and some major cities in lock down. The impact on ordinary businesses could be huge. We urge the Government to look at measures to help support businesses and providing relief via business rates would be a good start- particularly if funded centrally.”