Salisbury Business Improvement District

Budget 2020: Summary for businesses

13th March 2020

The Budget contained a series of announcements that will impact many businesses; we've summarised some the key elements for businesses.

Business rates holiday

Shops, cinemas, restaurants, pubs, and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will not pay Business Rates in the year from April 6th 2020. This will also include art galleries, museums, gyms, nightclubs, theatres and guest houses. This tax relief will benefit approximately 250 of the BID’s 500 levy payers.

There is an additional allowance for pubs with a rateable value of up to £100,000 of a £5,000 discount. Businesses that already eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief will be eligible from 6th April for a £3,000 cash grant paid through local authorities.

Business rates review

This business rate holiday does not benefit larger retailers or businesses but yesterday alongside the Budget the government also released a Green Paper that sets out the Terms of Reference for a fundamental review of business rates. The review has three objectives: to reduce the overall burden on businesses, improve the current business rate system, consider more fundamental changes in the medium to long term. The first objective would reduce income for government and local authorities.

The Green Paper says it will focus on 4 main areas:

  1. improvements that could be made from April 2021 alongside the planned revaluation;
  2. reforms to put the tax on a more sustainable basis, looking at the basis of the valuations, how this is done and how often, the use of reliefs, the impact on investment and growth etc;
  3. the administration of business rates covering valuation and appeals etc;
  4. exploring alternatives to business rates, particularly within the taxation of land and property.

One important caveat is that “the review will not consider the overall level of funding for local government”. This has got commentators asking how fundamental the review will be and how it will differ from the 2015 review.

The Paper says it will be concluded at the Autumn Budget. This seems to mean that previous submissions and evidence will have to be taken into account. Find out more here.

Business support for Coronavirus 

The budget also announced broader financial support for businesses coping with the economic impact of coronavirus, specifically to cash flows. This package includes:

A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: This temporary loan scheme will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The British Business Bank will guarantee 80% of the value of loans offered by banks to businesses, up to a £1.2 million cap per individual loan. There will also a cap for each lender on the total value of loans they can offer. Although there is, as yet, no further detail on the level of this lender cap or routes of application for businesses, the government has said that the scheme will support up to £1 billion of additional lending.

Time to Pay helpline: The government has announced that businesses and those who are self-employed can access support and advice on their tax obligations and payments via a new dedicated COVID-19 telephone helpline. Using this helpline, businesses may be able to agree a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC.

HMRC late payment penalties: The budget also states that HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.

Find out more about Coronavirus guidance for businesses here.

Infrastructure investment

The Budget included significant announcements on infrastructure funding, with £27 billion for road building over the next 5 years to deliver better access on key routes and to ports and airports. £1 billion was announced for the Transforming Cities Fund to support bus and cycling infrastructure in 12 English cities.

Locally, the A303 tunnel near Stonehenge has been given the go ahead by the chancellor who told the commons "This government's going to get it done."

Read more about the Budget 2020 here.