Chancellor Philip Hammond has confirmed plans to give smaller retailers a 33% cut to business rates and introduced a new digital services tax for companies with at least £500m in global revenue.
The reduction in rates will take place over the next two years and is expected to save businesses £900m. This includes retail businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less. A Future High Streets Fund of £675m was also announced to help revive the high street, allowing local councils to invest in the improvements and redevelop of under-used retail and commercial areas into residential spaces.
Hammond also introduced a new digital services tax, which he said was not a tax on goods purchased online and would only be paid by businesses with a global revenue of £500m or more. This is likely to affect the likes of Amazon and Facebook and help the high street compete with strong online firms.
The chancellor announced there would be a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic, however, there are no plans to introduce a levy on disposable plastic cups. Hammond said: “I have concluded that a tax in isolation would not, at this point, deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable cups across all beverage types.”
Beer and cider duty was frozen for the next year “for the patrons of the great British pub” according to Hammond, despite the freeze, wine duty will be risen to inflation plus 2%.