Accountants urge government to cut business rates

Financial support on a sectoral basis and reduction in business rates will be the most effective ways in which the UK government can boost the economy, an ICAEW survey of chartered accountants has found.

Some 62% of the 401 chartered accountants surveyed said a business rate reduction would assist the high street and benefit the country’s economy.

Just over three quarters (76%) of respondents had accessed a Covid-19 loan or support during the pandemic and 63% said they had furloughed staff.

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Iain Wright, the ICAEW’s director of Business and Industrial Strategy, said: “Some struggling companies could fail when faced with inflexible business rates bills.

“Reducing the business rates multiplier would bring down the cost of this charge, and therefore lessen the burden on companies at this critical time.”

He added: “Although the whole economy is suffering, it is striking that the economic effects of the pandemic affect some sectors with much more brutal damage than others. Targeted sectoral policy measures from government have been seen to work earlier in this crisis. 

“With the prospect of more restrictions threatening the very survival of businesses in some sectors, chartered accountants are telling us they would like the government to provide financial support on a sectoral basis to help those industries most in need.”

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