With retailers braced for rates bills increasing next year by over £130 million, could the move outside the European Union be used to help our High Streets?
As legislation stands today, strict state aid limits set by the EU, of €200,000 per business over a three year period, prevent larger retailers claiming otherwise available tax relief which would cut business rates bills by a third for 2019/20 and 2020/21.
This has been highlighted recently by the collapse of Thomas Cook of course, who were unable to benefit significantly from the government’s tax relief, with 446 shops qualifying, but the ability to claim on only 11 due to the EU limits.
The question inevitably is will the government move significantly away from the EU relief limit after Brexit? Under Theresa May’s Brexit the UK was to be aligned with the EU, but it seems that this may not be the case now, with a ‘Cabinet source’ reporting “The level-playing-field promise has to go, and Boris is very clear about this.”
The beleaguered High Street awaits the answer with baited breath!