The chancellor is almost certain to also extend the current business rates suspension for many small businesses, while setting the scene for an online sales tax all retailers may have to pay later in the year.
Recent polling by Kekst CNC found that an online sales tax would be the most popular way of recouping some of the costs of the Covid crisis: 56 per cent of voters want online retailers to pay more tax.
Business rates are assessed every few years and based on rent levels from two years earlier, with the outcome of the next assessment scheduled for 2023. The current rate is 50 per cent of market rent, which Vivienne King, chief executive at lobby group Shopkeepers’ Campaign, told the Financial Times made it the largest fixed cost paid by UK retailers.
Reducing business rates would “level the playing field” between bricks-and-mortar shops and online retailers, the signatories said, as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates the already growing popularity of internet shopping.
The chancellor will also unveil a series of policies designed to show “the benefits of Brexit”, according to the Sunday Times. The Budget will form part of six days of announcements on Britain’s post-Covid crisis future.
Further reading on Budget 2021 and small business