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Chancellor promises £241m to help High Streets

But there’s disappointment as Spending Review Statement doesn’t tackle rates issue

THE Chancellor's Spending Review Statement has promised increased spending in the UK economy, including £241million next year from the new towns fund to help regenerate High Streets,

Although there was little detail on how this would be spent, in the statement on Thursday, September 4, it is on top of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement the previous week that the £1billion Future High Streets Fund will expand to 50 more towns, as part of the Government’s plans to reshape town centres.
However, John Webber, head of business rates at real estate and investment management company Colliers International, was disappointed as Chancellor Sajid Javid (pictured) also said little about business rates reform in his statement.
“Such spending in itself will not be enough to counter the impact of the 2017 business rates revaluation and introduction of downward phasing,” John said, “it just simply won’t go far enough to help retailers struggling with their current rate bills.
“It would be much better to get to the heart of the High Street's problem immediately and to plan the funds to remove downwards transition and reduce the multiplier now.”
He added that the impact of delaying the 2015 Business Rates Revaluation by two years to 2017 lead to many retail businesses paying too high business rates.
And the Government policy of implementing business rates rises immediately, but phasing in any reductions over the four years of the list has also meant many retailers are still paying overly high charges on their property than they should be if rates had been set at the correct level immediately.
And Colliers want the multiplier, the figure against which a business property’s rateable value is multiplied to give the final rates bill, cut to 34p in the pound as it was in the 1990s form the current 50p which John says would mean retailers could more easily meet their costs and keep more stores open.
He added: “If the Government is serious about saving the High Street they must halt any further rises, abolish downwards transition and reduce the multiplier now. Without that many retailers in many of our towns will stay under threat, stores will be closed and jobs lost, countering much of the Government's investment plans.”



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