30/10/18 – Autumn Budget 2018

The Budget has been delivered and we spoke with two of our service divisions to offer their insight into what this means to commercial property owners and occupiers.

Tony Hodge, Director, Building Surveying, comments on some of the announcements below.

  • The Councils have been given an additional budget to help revitalise the high streets, with residential and office units recommended.  It follows on from an announcement that permitted development rights are being extended, although the use of Article 4 directions seems to be increasing.
  • We recommend that landlords and occupiers examine the use of the space that they own and use because there could be a solution that suits both parties.  If occupiers are not using the upper parts of buildings to their full potential, there is an opportunity for the space to the surrendered, eliminating the cost to run the un-used parts, and the space can be put into a more useful use, enhancing the overall value for the owner.
  • This requires a holistic approach, including agency, planning and dilapidations considerations advice to ensure that any scheme is viable. All of which can be provided by Aitchison Raffety.
  • The Government also announced an extension to the Capital Allowances, where businesses can claim tax relief on expenditure, which now includes Structures and Buildings Allowance (SBA).

If you have or are expending capital on buildings, whether sale, acquisition or building works, we can put you in contact with various specialists who can report on the extent of qualifying capital allowances.

Myles O’Brien, Head of Business Rates focussed his thoughts around the important announcement of Rate Relief for Retail.

  • Retail Rate Relief– The Government will apply a relief of one-third for retail properties with a rateable value below £51,000 for two years from 1st April 2019. This adjustment will not be subject to an occupation test, similar to Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR), but it will be subject to State Aid Limits.
  • This is a positive step for struggling independent High Street retailers, as part of HM Treasury’s ‘Our Plan for the High Street’. Alongside this change to Business Rates, the Government will launch a new ‘Future High Streets Fund’ in England to support local areas to make high streets and town centres ‘fit for the future’.
  • Whilst this is set to provide a benefit for ‘up to 90% of retail properties’, there will still be a number of businesses above this threshold that will struggle as a result of the business rates burden and change in consumer activity.

Other announcements in respect of Business Rates were: –

  • Business Rates public lavatories relief – The Government will introduce 100% business rates relief for all public conveniences either privately or publicly owned.
  • Business Rates local newspaper discount – The Government will continue the £1,500 business rates discount for office space occupied by local newspapers in 2019-20.
  • Self-Catering and Holiday Lets – The Government is set to consult on the criteria under which self-catering and holiday lets become chargeable to business rates rather than council tax. This is due to the concern that some owners of properties that are not genuine businesses may seek to reduce their tax liability by falsely declaring that the property is available to let.

For more information on any of the above, please contact Tony Hodge, Director, Building Surveying, tony.hodge@argroup.co.uk or Myles O’Brien, Head of Business Rates, myles.obrien@argroup.co.uk