High streets have undoubtably struggled throughout the pandemic over the past year. Since the first lockdown in March, the government has provided support for businesses to try and prevent as many closures and job losses as possible. To support businesses during these challenging times, the government introduced a business rates holiday.
Business rates were temporarily paused at the start of the pandemic however, in April the tax is due to restart. Members of the Labour party have called for an extension to the relief, especially for non-essential shops, hotels, pubs and restaurants, as they recover from the pandemic.
As summer approaches, concerns are growing for high street businesses that rely on tourism in the summer months. Having already been hit by the pandemic, hospitality venues and non-essential shops face uncertain times in the months ahead. An extension to the business rates holiday would allow for businesses to get back on their feet, when they are allowed to reopen.
Labour has demanded a six-month extension to the business rates holiday along with an extension to the reduced rate VAT holiday. They have also called for a ‘student loan style arrangement’ to allow businesses to manage debt, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many businesses in the hospitality sector have backed Labour’s call to the government to extend the business rates holiday and VAT holiday.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he will announce plans to support jobs and businesses in the upcoming Budget announcement on 3rd March.