Cluttons has expressed its disappointment that the Budget announcement did not address the issue of business rates.
Peter Chapman, head of rating and compensation for Cluttons, said: “This Budget provided the Chancellor with a golden opportunity to demonstrate that the government was listening to the retail industry’s pleas and it is disappointing business rates were not addressed.
“Instead, the government has refused to listen to the concerns of the retail industry which called for no increase to business rates next year. It has also stood by the annual uplift in the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) multiplier at the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure of 2.6% for 2013/14. It is unfortunate the government did not increase future years’ rates bills by no more than the Bank of England’s lower Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“Secondly, we are disappointed the government did not take the opportunity to expand the empty rates relief. Last year, it announced it intended to provide relief from empty property rates for new commercial developments. This was widely welcomed, but it was not enough. The Chancellor should have expanded this policy to include the refurbishment and redevelopment of existing empty space.
“This would have encouraged investment and development of existing redundant buildings which, given the severely constrained development pipeline, would have been a boost to the construction industry and demonstrated the government’s commitment to growth and employment.”