Continued support for SME's

By Simon Tivey, partner

The Autumn Statement has provided further support for SME's following on from the raft of measures announced last year.

As predicted, the annual inflationary increase will again be pegged at 2% for the 2015 rate year, which is below the normal RPI increase. Likewise, the now well-established Small Business Rate Relief  scheme is rolled forward in its present form to keep a third of all properties either paying no rates or considerably reduced rate bills.

The pleasantly surprising news for SME's in this year's Autumn Statement, is the increase of the newly badged "retailers relief " which will give shopkeepers £1500 off their 2015 bill if they occupy shops with rateable value under £50,000. The Govt have injected an additional £130m through this further targeted support for the High Street.

We also predicted an extension to the present transitional relief scheme which protects ratepayers from large rateable value shifts arising from the 2010 revaluation. The Chancellor has recognised the need for this measure, and smaller ratepayers with rateable values under £50,00 will continue to receive protection into 2015 and 2016.

However, the broader body of the 1.8m ratepayers will be disappointed that the widely called for structural review of business rates is being put off until 2016, and we'll learn later this month what smaller interim changes will be made. Most keenly awaited will be measures to speed up the settlement of rating appeals which still number nearly 100,000 outstanding.

Click here to keep up to date on the Autumn Statement