Rishi Sunak pledges business rates cuts for hundreds of High Street businesses

Rishi Sunak has welcomed a plan to cut the business rates of hundreds of High Street businesses in the Richmond constituency.

In Northallerton more than 80 town centre businesses would have their business rates cut and in Richmond more than 40 would benefit.

The plan is a Conservative commitment to increase an existing business rates discount scheme from 33 per cent to 50 per cent in 2020/21.

Some businesses could benefit by as much as £3,500 a year.

Mr Sunak said the increased discount – which will also be extended to cover cinemas and music venues - was part of a package of measures designed to help High Streets combat the growing popularity of online shopping.

These measures included the £1bn Future High Streets Fund which is targeted investment to help towns re-invent their High Streets

The funding can be used to improve transport and access to town centres, convert empty retail units into new homes and workplaces, and invest in vital infrastructure.

Northallerton has been invited to bid for money under the scheme.

Mr Sunak said: “Our High Streets need to adapt to the new retail world but existing businesses need help now and bigger business rates discounts will provide that.

“Taking Northallerton and Richmond town centres as examples the vast majority of businesses will pay either much reduced rates or no business rates at all.”

The existing Retail Business Rates Discount Scheme was first unveiled in the Autumn 2018 budget giving retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 a 33 per cent discount on their bills. The new plan increases the discount to 50 per cent and will also cover a wider variety of businesses.