Publication of the Government’s final business rates review report will be delayed until Autumn 2021, the Treasury has confirmed.

The review, which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in last year’s Budget, forms part of his promise to “level the playing field” between the high street and online workers.

A call for evidence to seek stakeholders’ views on key issues including reforming the rates multiplier and looking at alternative ways of taxing non-residential property closed last year, but the Treasury has said the final report will be released when there is “more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and the public finances.”

In the meantime, an interim report – which will include a summary of consultation responses – will be published on 23 March, along with a number of tax documents, consultations and calls for evidences on a wide-range of tax-related issues.

The Chancellor is also expected to announce an extension to the year-long business rates holiday in his upcoming Budget on 3 March, as well as an extension of the furlough scheme.

Responding to the news, UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: “The business rates system as it relates to hospitality has been broken for some time. It is an antiquated system of tax that bears almost no relation to the realities of business in the 21st Century. It needs addressing, so a delay in the review is obviously a disappointment.

“If it must be delayed, then it is absolutely vital that the Government uses the extra time to ensure it gets this right. After the misery of last year, a properly functioning, equitable rates system is now more critical than ever. In the meantime, there is now no reason why the business rates holiday should not be extended for another year. Extend this support, along with the VAT cut, at the Budget, then deliver a whole new rates system that no longer unfairly penalises our sector.”

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