Philip Hammond Set To Announce £1.5bn Boost For Struggling UK High Dtreets

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Philip Hammond, the British Chancellor, is set to announce a £1.5 billion boost to the struggling high streets of the United Kingdom in his Budget this coming Monday.

In his speech, Hammond is anticipated to announce £900 million of immediate business rates relief on top of a £650 million fund to “transform” the high streets up and down the United Kingdom.

Approximately 500,000 small retailers are set to benefit from the business rates relief that could clear a third off their bill – in an attempt to put a stop to the increasing number of closures around the country.

Earlier this week, Debenhams revealed its plans to increase its store closures to 50 as it posted a loss of almost £500 million.

The recent collapse of the House of Fraser and many more businesses closing shops in various cities and towns across the United Kingdom has portrayed a bleak picture in recent months.

The rescue package of the Chancellor amounting to £650 million will serve as a support for local areas to redevelop under-used retail space into offices and homes.

Hammond is also anticipated to relax planning rules to boost the mixed-used businesses and bring historic buildings back into use.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that the relief would be embraced by many small companies. However, it called for a “wholescale review” of the business rate system in order to relieve the pressure on high streets.

Rain Newton-Smith, the chief economist of the CBI, stated: “The roots of the problem go far deeper though, with business rates giving larger retailers serious headaches, alongside manufacturers and logistics firms.”