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Help for pubs and small businesses unveiled in budget

James Harrison

Pubs and other small businesses were all given a boost by Chancellor Philip Hammond in yesterday’s (Wednesday) budget.

From his red box he pulled a package he claimed was worth £435million to soothe the troubles of companies concerned about the re-evaluation of business rates.

And publicans were also given something to drink to in the form of rates discounts which are expected to benefit 90 per cent of the nation’s watering holes.

A £300m hardship fund for firms worst affected by the changes was among the headline measures, as well as a promise that rises would be capped.

“No business losing small business rate relief will see their bill increase next year by more than £50 a month, and the subsequent increases will be capped at either the transitional relief cap or £50 a month, whichever is higher,” promised Mr Hammond.

The move was branded ‘welcome stuff’ by Olu Odeniyi, president of the Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce.

Before the Chancellor had made his statement, Mr Odeniyi had warned of the potential effect of increases to business rates, particularly on Maidenhead town centre as it goes through a period of regeneration.

Pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 were given a bonus with a £1,000 discount on their business rates.

Mark Newcombe, the pub protection officer for the Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead branch of CAMRA, who is also a leading member of the campaign to save the Craufurd Arms, in Gringer Hill, Maidenhead, immediately gave the new measure a thumbs up.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said.

“On a national level, it’s something CAMRA has been involved in lobbying for for a long time and it’s very, very useful and will be well received.”

Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Bray), leader of the Royal Borough, also signalled his approval for the budget.

He said: “I’m delighted see the £300m for local authorities.

“Any money which helps to assist with business rates is good news and we’re also delighted to see the additional funding for adult social care and we’ve said that additional funding should come from central government, not council taxpayers.”

An extra £2billion has been made available for adult social care over the next three years.

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