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Budget 2020 – Business Rates Highlights

Rob Cohen / 12 Mar, 20

The March Budget saw the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak announce a number of changes to business rates in England, including a fundamental review and a number of short-term initiatives devised to assist small businesses.

Key Facts from the Budget 2020

  • Business Rates retail discount for businesses with rateable values below £51,000 to increase to 100% for one year
  • Retail discount to also expand to include hospitality and leisure discounts for 2020/21
  • Pubs will be supported with a discount of £5,000 if they have a RV below £100,000
  • The £1,500 business rates discount for office space used by local newspapers to be extended by five years
  • Government to bring forward 100% business rates relief for standalone public lavatories in England from April 2020
  • Government to provide £2.2billion of funding for local authorities to provide a £3,000 grant for businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief
  • The government will invest a further £11.5million in the VOA in an attempt to transform the systems and processes, increasing efficiency and improving customer service in the future
  • A further fundamental review of business rates was also announced, to report in Autumn.


Rob Cohen, partner in our business rates team commented on yesterday’s Budget and the impact it might have.

“This is an extensive package of relief announced by the new Chancellor and as always the devil will be in the detail.  It should really help some smaller retailers and those located in secondary locations but State Aid limits on how much relief can be claimed will prohibit any of the large national retailers from benefitting.

The biggest change in what was already due to be delivered is the extension of the relief to museums, art galleries, theatres, gyms, hotels, caravan parks and others.  Leisure operators are likely to suffer as people avoid public spaces due to COVID-19 and the rates relief offered should really help these businesses.

In regard to the extra funding for the VOA, this is welcome news and much needed to improve the current service but it only goes a small way to reversing the repeated cuts the Agency has undergone over the last 5 years; cuts that put the VOA in the position it is in now.

The numerous patches and tweaks to the existing system are indicative of a broken system but Mr Sunak could implement some of the recommendations from previous reviews rather than undertaking yet another review.”

To find out more please get in touch with one of our team below.

London & South: Contact Matthew Midwinter

Yorkshire & Midlands: Contact Rob Cohen

North East: Contact Richard Farr 

Topics: Blog

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