Financial support from the Government is welcome – but a full review of the business rates system would bring more long-term stability. 

That’s the view of Shrewsbury BID, which represents more than 500 businesses in Shrewsbury town centre. 

Executive director, Seb Slater, welcomed the ‘restart grants’ of up to £18,000 announced by the Chancellor ahead of the budget, but said the issue of business rates was a longer-term concern. 

He said: “Understandably the focus is very much on the immediate recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and any financial assistance such as these restart grants will be very much welcomed by businesses. 

“Here in Shrewsbury, traders are just looking forward to opening again and are hopeful of a good summer as long as infection levels continue to drop. 

“However, business rates have been an issue since long before the pandemic, and we have been lobbying along with BIDs all over the country to get the system overhauled. 

“The Government has pushed a review into business rates back to the autumn, but in the meantime we are pleased that the Chancellor has extended the suspension of business rates which will help businesses can flourish again as we emerge from lockdown.” 

Chairman of Shrewsbury BID, Mike Matthews, who owns the Prince Rupert Hotel in Butcher Row, said he was confident Shrewsbury would bounce back during 2021. 

“We are fortunate to have a strong independent retail sector here in Shrewsbury, so are not reliant on the success of major chains to sustain the town centre,” he said. 

“That means we are a resilient town and generally quite well-insulated from national economic trends, so I am hopeful we can look forward to better times ahead.”