Valuable properties could face higher business rates

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering increasing business rates for the "most valuable properties", having called for industry opinion on whether high end shops, offices and other large premises should pay a new, higher business rate. Feedback has also been requested on proposals to create different rates for different types of businesses. As part of a review of the levy, the Treasury has issued a call for evidence which warns that failing to raise enough revenue from business rates could put pressure on "other parts of the tax system". March saw the Chancellor announce a one-year £10bn business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in a bid to ease pressure brought about by the coronavirus crisis, a move which means revenue from the levy is down by about 40%. Considering the possibility of higher rates for more valuable buildings, Jerry Schurder at consultancy Gerald Eve said: "It beggars belief, considering the primary complaint about business rates is that the tax is just too high." The call for evidence will also look at whether an online sales tax could provide a "sustainable and meaningful revenue source” for the Government.

The Daily Telegraph
Coronavirus lending exceeds £50bn

Around £50.7bn has now been lent to firms as part of the various government-backed coronavirus loan schemes, with the bounce back loans scheme (BBLS) distributing £34m to small businesses. Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the CBI, commented: “Delayed reopening will unfortunately lead to even more financial pressure for some companies. So there may yet be a need for more direct support to shore up cash flow, including extended business rates relief.”

City AM Daily Mirror Daily Express
Iwoca calls for collaboration among lenders

Iwoca, a fintech focused on SME lending, is urging closer collaboration between large lenders as it announced £100m to support the operations of small businesses seeking financing. CEO Christoph Rieche stated: “Banks must work with us. It’s not acceptable that thousands of the businesses applying for CBILS are left hanging for weeks or even months without getting a decision from their bank. As an industry, we have a joint responsibility in supporting this effort so that SMEs can access finance fast to survive and thrive.”

Crowdfund Insider
UK200Group calls for ways to help firms manage finances

Professional services organisation the UK200Group is urging action from the government on how to handle of billions of pounds of business borrowing resulting from coronavirus. Andrew Jackson, head of corporate tax, Fiander Tovell and chair of the Tax Panel of the UK200Group commented: “Business is largely supportive of government initiatives so far. But it is looking increasingly likely that an upturn is further away than hoped for and as a result those businesses that have needed to defer their VAT or take advantage of a bounce-back loan are unlikely to have the cash available in as little as six months to make payments.” He went on: “We are not proposing writing off debts, but we are calling for ways for businesses to manage their finances over a longer period, so that they don’t have to take preventative measures now which may be unnecessary, but most likely mean more redundancies”.

Business Money