A BOOST for small businesses and a helping hand for our high streets is expected after Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget announcements yesterday.
The Chancellor said the government is planning a revival of Britain’s high streets worth £675m.
He said business rates would be cut by one third for small firms and encouraging entrepreneurs is ‘at the heart of his strategy’.
Ross McNally, executive chair of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said the cut in rates will benefit many small retailers – but radical reform in the long term is still needed as the business rates system is ‘broken’.
The announcements come just under three weeks after The News launched its Love Your High Street campaign – in which many cited rates as a huge problem for business owners.
Mr McNally said: ‘We wanted a Budget focused on productivity, skills, infrastructure and support for our exporters, and the Chancellor has gone some way to meeting these aims.
‘The one-third cut in business rates for those with smaller, rateable values will benefit many smaller retailers and independent shops, pubs and cafes.
‘At the same time, we welcome his move to delay the uprating of business rates for the high street for the next two years.
‘However, radical reform over the longer-term is still needed. The overall system of business rates remains broken, taking no account of profitability or economic circumstances.’
Havant MP Alan Mak said the budget is good for hardworking people, businesses and communities.
He said: ‘Income tax is cut, the minimum wage is going up and fuel duty is frozen – rewarding the hard work of local people and bringing down living costs.
‘Our growing economy means we can use the money to cut taxes and invest in our public services, and that's the right approach to ensure a bright future for everyone.’
Michaela Johns, director of accountants and business tax advisers HWB, which advises businesses across Hampshire, added: ‘This Budget marks a shift in fiscal direction from the government following an eight-year austerity programme, and there are a number of announcements that will be broadly welcomed by businesses in the south.’