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COVID-19: Chancellor grants business rates holiday to all retailers

Lauretta Roberts
17 March 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a package of Government aid to keep businesses propped up during the COVID-19 crisis, including offering a business rates "holiday" to all retailers.

In his budget last week Sunak disappointed larger retail chains by offering no rates relief but smaller retailers in properties with a rentable value of up to £51,000 were grant a year's business rates holiday.

Due to the large number of retailers being forced to close during the pandemic and alarming slumps in footfall as consumers are urged to stay home, this has now been extended to all retailers, as well as businesses in the hospitality sector.

Ratings experts at real estate adviser Altus Group have broken down the savings for retailers in England, excluding those already told at the Budget that they would already get a discount, according to the latest records.

– Retail rates savings

35,989 Non-food shops – £3.51bn
10,004 Retail warehouses & food stores – £1.36bn
3,400 Superstores/hypermarkets – £2.68bn
3,139 Smaller supermarkets – £352.68m

Source: Altus Group

Other parts of the emergency aid include £330bn of loan guarantees to businesses. To support liquidity amongst larger firms, he has agreed a facility with the the Bank of England and for smaller firms he will extend the business interruption loan scheme, which will offer loans of up to £5m. Sunak says both schemes will be up and running by next week.

The smallest businesses are set to receive grants of £10,000 while those businesses who received rates relief last week will also get grants of £25,000.

A number of big chains have also been appealing to landlords for rent relief during the pandemic, including H&M and Debenhams.

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