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Chancellor abolishes business rates for small firms amid coronavirus

The Chancellor has announced a raft of emergency measures to support small businesses experiencing increased costs or disruptions to their cashflow as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the new measures announced today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be exempt from paying business rates over the next financial year.

He said: “Our manifesto promised that for shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000, we would increase their business rates retail discount to 50%.

“Today I can go further, and take the exceptional step, for this coming year, of abolishing their business rates altogether.”

The Chancellor also announced plans for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support up to a further £1 billion lending to SMEs, a £2.2 billion grant scheme for small businesses, and a dedicated helpline for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities.

In addition, statutory sick pay will be paid to all those who choose to self-isolate, even if they don't have symptoms, and firms with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay payments for two weeks.

The measures are part of a £30bn package to help the economy survive the coronavirus outbreak. It follows the Bank of England's emergency cut in interest rates yesterday.

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