Rates are being updated for the first time in seven years, to bring them into line with property values. Business groups and some Tory MPs have warned of high street store closures.
Speaking ahead of next month’s Budget, Mr Hammond stopped short of committing himself to action. At an 80-minute meeting of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee in Westminster on Monday evening, a series of MPs confronted Mr Hammond with examples of businesses in their constituencies facing steep tax rises. The changes come into force on 1 April as a result of a revaluation of premises carried out by the government.
As a result of the government’s revaluation, ministers say three quarters of businesses’ rates will either go down or stay the same – but ministers have faced calls for a rethink, with claims retailers in some areas could face rises of up to 400%.