Support for high street businesses and pubs in Budget 2017 welcomed by Worcester MP

Worcester’s MP Robin Walker has welcomed the support for local businesses announced in the Autumn Budget.

Having tirelessly campaigned for business rate relief and reform throughout his parliamentary career, Robin welcomed the Chancellor’s announcements in the Budget. After the Spring Budget, in which an additional £435million was pledged to support businesses most affected by the rate revaluation in this Parliament, a further £2.3billion of support was approved by the Chancellor yesterday to be delivered over the next five years.

This package of support will include:

  • bringing forward to 1 April 2018 the planned switch in indexation from RPI to CPI
  • legislating retrospectively to address the so-called “staircase tax”, meaning that no company will have to pay more in business rates because it occupies multiple storeys
  • continuing the £1,000 business rate discount for pubs with a rateable value up to £100,000 for a further year from 1 April 2018
  • increasing the frequency of VOA revaluations for businesses to every three years

These announcements were welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who described the abolition of the staircase tax as “a lifeline to thousands of small firms” and approved the whole package of measures as “a business-friendly Budget.”

Speaking after the Budget, Robin said: “I was really pleased to see so many measures announced in this Budget that will really benefit local businesses.

“I have campaigned for business rate reform for many years, including as a former member of the Business Select Committee when I called for a report into high streets and the future of retail and heard from a number of Worcester business owners about how important it is to ease the burden of rates on small retailers, as well as improving the system of rate revaluations. This Budget addresses both of those issues, and I am sure that local retailers will welcome it.

“For our local pubs there is a further year’s extension of the £1,000 business rate discount, which alongside the freeze in duty on beer, wine and spirits will be a real boost and help these valuable community assets to thrive.

“I know many business owners will also welcome the freeze in fuel duty, and the £1.5billion of support for small building firms will be a boon to local builders as well as helping to deliver the affordable homes Worcester needs. It isn’t Government that delivers the kind of record employment we’ve been seeing in the UK and Worcester over recent years but businesses large and small, creating opportunities and employing people. This budget should help more of them to keep doing that.”