Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a 33% cut to business rates for almost half a million SMEs through a new £900m fund.
The money will go towards immediate business rates relief for all small businesses in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less, and will provide savings of up to £8,000 a year.
Hammond said the relief will help to ease the burden for small retailers who face large high street property taxes and are struggling to compete with online trade.
Small business campaigner and founder of SME4Labour, Ibrahim Dogus, commented: “This is welcoming news but where is the funding coming from? There are more than five million small businesses in the UK and they are all struggling. We need the government to find and implement long term solutions not just soundbites.
"The government needs to end austerity and end the pay cap on public sector workers. If it is serious about tackling the challenges faced by small businesses then it needs to help encourage people to spend money locally."
Philip Woolner, joint managing partner at Cheffins, added: “Spreadsheet Phil has tinkered with the figures for business rates and the proposals which he has suggested today, whilst very welcome, will not have a significant impact on SMEs.
"The raft of recent insolvencies across the country is indicative that meaningful change is required here rather than headline-grabbing soundbites. The issue is that business rates have been the government’s cash cow for years and the system is so embedded and the tax so easy to collect that a complete overhaul is always going to be unrealistic, particularly with the government otherwise engaged in Brexit and its implications.
"It should be considered that a larger reduction in business rates might give a few businesses some breathing space, however the shortfall which would then be felt keenly by The Treasury would likely have to be shored up by the Amazon Tax or other measures.”