The Government has announced a new targeted £1.5 billion business rates relief package that will support businesses who have not benefited from the business rates relief applied to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

We have not seen the details of when this will be rolled out and the qualifying criteria, but the £1.5 billion pot will be distributed across the country according to which sectors have suffered most economically, ensuring the support is provided to businesses in England in the fastest and fairest way possible.

However, many businesses, ineligible for previous rates relief packages, have been appealing for discounts on their rates bills, arguing the pandemic represented a ‘material change of circumstance’. The Government has made it clear that market-wide economic changes, such as COVID, can only be considered during general rates revaluations. Therefore the law will be changed so that these appeals for discounts on rates bills will not be successful.

Although the blocking of business rates appeals on the grounds of COVID will frustrate many businesses, the new business rates relief package is welcome.

As always, we will provide further details when these are available.

If you require guidance on any of the above, please contact your TC partner on 0330 088 7111.