Business rates relief will give £14bn back to pubs, restaurants and small high street shops

Thousands of shops, pubs and restaurants are in line for £14 billion in relief aimed at countering next year’s rise in business rates, but the government stopped short of more fundamental reform of the tax.

The government was due to net an extra £3 billion a year in April when business rates — a levy on most commercial properties to fund local services — were expected to rise in line with inflation.

Business groups had urged the government not to let this happen, fearful that another jump might push companies into insolvency. Jeremy Hunt said that a revaluation of business rates would go ahead as planned next year but that he would “soften the blow” with £13.6 billion worth of tax cuts over the next five years.

“Nearly two thirds of properties will not pay a penny more next year and thousands of pubs, restaurants and small high street shops … Read more

Return to offices ‘will not increase’

Britain’s offices might not get much fuller than they are now, with the number of people returning “appearing to have plateaued” over the past couple of months.

Occupancy levels throughout the UK fell to 29.1 per cent last week, having notched up a post-pandemic high of 33.1 per cent in the week before.

Remit Consulting, which tracks card key fob usage to compile its data, said the latest figures probably had been affected by the train and London Underground strikes, although the longer-term trend still suggested that the return to the office was running out of steam.

Occupancy levels breached 30 per cent in June before dropping below 25 per cent as schools began to finish for the summer holidays. There was a noticeable pick-up in attendance as schools went back in early September, since when offices have been, on average, 30.1 per cent full.

“Since the end of the … Read more

How to mitigate some of Hunt’s brutal Autumn Statement for UK higher earners

More Britons will pay higher rates of tax after the autumn state as Jeremy Hunt announce he was freezing allowances for two further years and cutting the threshold for the 45p top rate.

The chancellor said cutting the starting point for the top rate from earnings of £150,000 to £125,140 would see the wealthiest paying an extra £1,200 each year.

Alex Davies, CEO and Founder of Wealth Club said: “However necessary, today’s announcement is brutal for higher earners and investors. Around 250,000 more people will be paying the top rate of tax, many allowances will be frozen until 2028 and the dividend and capital gains tax allowances are being slashed.

The good news is there are still plenty of perfectly legitimate ways you can reduce the tax you pay, from investing in pension and ISAs to crystallising capital gains liabilities now rather than next year. If you are prepared to … Read more