The Government’s latest Budget seems to have been positive for many businesses – and the removal of business rates for more than 400 Shrewsbury traders is certainly a welcome boost. 

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said: 

“The decision to remove business rates this year for many town centre businesses is extremely welcome.

“Whilst this measure may be linked to the impact of coronavirus, with Shrewsbury particularly hard hit following the recent flooding, the removal of business rates for over 400 Shrewsbury businesses is a real boost.
“It’s also good news that the Government has pledged to review business rates as a whole later this year, because we know that business rates can be a big challenge for retaining and attracting new businesses of all sizes.
“We were also pleased to hear the Chancellor confirm £120 million of funding for emergency flooding relief, we will continue to work with Shropshire Council to lobby for Shrewsbury town centre and its businesses to benefit from this funding.
Of course it remains that town centres need the support of people to prosper, so I would urge people to visit Shrewsbury town centre and support our wonderful local shops, restaurants and bars.” 

Key points for businesses from the Budget are as follows: 

  • Business rates in England will be abolished for firms in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value below £51,000. Read more.
  • Businesses who are eligible for small business rates relief will also be eligible for a cash grant of £3,000
  • National Insurance Contributions tax threshold to rise from £8,632 to £9,500 – saving 500,000 employees just over £100 a year
  • Duties on spirits, beer, cider and wine to be frozen
  • Business rate discounts for pubs to rise from £1,000 to £5,000 this year
  • System of High Street business rates to be reviewed later this year
  • £120m in emergency relief for communities affected by this winter’s flooding and £200m for flood resilience 

Coronavirus response 

  • Firms with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay payments for two weeks
  • A “temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme” for banks to offer loans of up to £1.2m to support small and medium-sized businesses. 



For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 2 weeks of COVID-19 related statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million employers with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. HMRC will provide further details in due course on how employers can access the rebate. More information about this and regular updates can be found on GOV.UK.

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.