Proposed changes to business rates could benefit small firms

Proposed changes to business rates could benefit small firms

Local authorities could have greater flexibility to offer business rate discounts to small local firms, under a proposal put to the Chancellor by the Local Government Association (LGA) in November 2014. Business rates are currently set by central government, meaning local authorities’ ability to offer local discounts is restricted. Under the LGA proposal, all responsibility for setting and collecting business rates would lie with local authorities, allowing greater flexibility for local authorities to offer reduced rates to local high street firms, new start ups and firms using local suppliers. If the proposal goes ahead, local authorities will also be able to link business rates to turnover, including that from e-commerce, to create more fairness between high street and online retailers, and to encourage new start ups to trade on the high street.

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