What is expected in the Autumn Statement?

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Under pressure: Colliers calls for Gov to freeze business rates multiplier (Credit: Getty/John Lamb)
Under pressure: Colliers calls for Gov to freeze business rates multiplier (Credit: Getty/John Lamb)

Related tags Legislation Finance Government

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will reportedly announce cuts to business taxes and a National Insurance reduction in today's Autumn Statement.

Hunt will address parliament later this afternoon (Wednesday 22 November) to detail the Government’s fiscal plans for the next year, which have been widely reported to include a reduction to the headline rate of inflation, tax cuts for businesses and an increase in the National Living Wage.

Night-Time Economy Adviser for Manchester, Sacha Lord, also claimed via X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had "seen a press leak on freezing duty on alcohol to save pubs".

Property rates experts Colliers urged the Government to freeze the business rates multiplier for firms of all sizes in the statement to avoid even greater pressure and threat on high street firms.

According to Colliers, the business rates multiplier stands at 51.2p for every £1 of a commercial property's rateable value, and 49.9p for small businesses.

Under pressure 

The experts also calculated that, based on the CPI figure for the previous September and this year’s September CPI figure of 6.7%, rate bills were likely to soar next April unless action is taken today, estimating an extra £1.74bn on rates bills across the board, with the hospitality and retail sectors hardest hit.

Collier’s head of business rates John Webber said: “This will be a massive hit to the high street.

“Although most businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors have benefited to some extent from the 2023 revaluation, the sectors are still under pressure facing higher occupational costs across the board as energy, employment and insurance costs soar.

“The larger retailer and hospitality companies are the main employers in their sectors. Hitting them with a 6.7% rise in their rates bills next April will have a dire impact and certainly dampen expansion and growth plans and for some businesses might be the last straw.”

Webber added freezing the multiplier for 2024/5 was “only the first step” and urged the Government to “fulfil its election manifesto” and introduce proper business rates reform, primarily by rebasing the multiplier to a level that businesses can afford.

Time to act 

This comes as figures from the Night-Time Industries Association​ (NTIA) revealed some 20% of firms were at risk of closure in early next year without “substantial tax reductions”.

Across the sector, industry leaders have repeatedly called for support in the run up to tomorrow’s statement, with a duty freeze ​​and further energy support also suggested in addition to a VAT reduction and business rates relief extension.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “The time to act is now, and we urge policymakers to prioritize the hospitality, night-time economy and creative industries.”

Moreover, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls implored the Chancellor to "drive down costs" for the sector following the recent increase to the National Living Wage from £10.42 to £11.44 as of next April.

She said: “If businesses are expected to deliver these wage levels, there must be action to drive down costs in other areas. The first priority on that list needs to be extending business rates relief and freezing the multiplier in the Autumn Statement."

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