Budget 2018: Chancellor's rates relief ‘like stopping a forest fire with a water pistol'

29 October 2018 by
Budget 2018: Chancellor's rates relief ‘like stopping a forest fire with a water pistol'

The chancellor has been accused of "tackling a forest fire with a water pistol" after parts of his budget were revealed to include business rates relief and a relaxing of rules on wedding venues.

The autumn Budget, which will be formally released later today, will set out the government's spending commitments for the next year. Philip Hammond is expected to announce a cut to business rates for smaller retailers and changes that will allow weddings to take place in more venues.

However Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, has hit out at the leaked policies, saying they are a case of "rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic".

"These measures ignore the fact that the current system doesn't properly assess small businesses. This is the flaw in the whole system - rateable value does not reflect profitability.

"Reliefs for business rates sufferers may be the only immediate step available, but the only ways to build confidence and investment in the longer term is a radical overhaul of the business rates system and measures to level the playing field between digital and other businesses. These are central asks of our Aim High campaign.

"Similarly, enabling more venues to host weddings is something many businesses will appreciate, but rather ignores the scale of attention the underlying causes of high street decline urgently needs.

"It is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Tinkering will get us nowhere - it's time for fundamental change to save high streets and allow hospitality to grow and generate prosperity for Britain."

An industry in crisis, part one: Why are we sleepwalking into a staffing catastrophe>>

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