LONDON (Reuters) – Britain pledged a further 1.5 billion pounds ($2.06 billion) in tax relief for companies hit by the coronavirus crisis but which until now had not qualified for exemption from paying business rates, a charge based on the value of commercial property.
The move comes on top of the 16 billion pounds in business rates relief already paid to or earmarked for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
The new support would be distributed according the severity of the economic hit suffered by specific sectors, rather than on the basis of falls in property values as demanded by many businesses, the ministry said.
“By providing more targeted support than the business rates appeals system, our approach will help protect and support jobs in businesses across the country,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.
Sunak has so far spent or pledged about 350 billion pounds on emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Housing minister Robert Jenrick said local authorities would decide how to allocate the awards.
($1 = 0.7288 pounds)
(Writing by William Schomberg; editing by William James)