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New business rates reliefs worth £85m

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New business rates reliefs announced in this afternoon’s autumn statement will be worth £85m, Treasury figures show.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a five year relief for new broadband fibre and an extension of the rural business rates relief to 100% in the autumn statement this afternoon. The Treasury has accounted for the cost of the changes, suggesting councils will be compensated for any impact on their business rates income in line with the practice for existing reliefs. 

The broadband relief is estimated to be worth £60m. As it is telecoms infrastructure it is most likely this would sit on the central list of properties eligible for business rates rather than a local list linked to an individual council.

The extension of rural rates relief is estimated to be worth just £25m. Treasury documents said the move was intended to “remove the inconsistency between rural rate relief and small business rate relief”.

Rural rate relief of 50% can be claimed by post offices, village shops, pubs or petrol stations if they are the only such facility serving an area with a population of less than 3,000 and a rateable value of up to £12,500. However, changes to small business rates relief announced at the Budget exempted all properties with a rateable value of up to £12,000 from paying business rates, meaning some small rural businesses with a slightly higher rateable value would have to pay 50% of their business rates.

In 2015-16 councils were forecasting they would collect more than £23bn in business rates. 

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