The Government has blamed the “ongoing and wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and economic uncertainty” for its decision to delay a review on business rates.
While the findings of an interim report will be published on March 23, the final review will not be completed until the autumn.
Suren Thiru, the British Chambers of Commerce Head of Economics, criticised the decision and said the issue of business rates was even more important now as a direct result of the impact of the pandemic.
“Delivering fundamental change to this longstanding drag anchor on business has become only more pressing in light of COVID-19.
“Delay in reforming a broken system will hamper any recovery by exacerbating business cash flow concerns as part of the fixed cost base that firms can do little to push downward.
“The delay in the review underscores the need to urgently extend business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure and provide rates relief to all firms whose ability to generate revenues are severely impaired by the pandemic.”
The major review of the business rates system was called by the Chancellor at last year’s Budget, with a call for evidence launched in July.
Responses from the call are now “being considered” by the Government and will be released as part of the interim report on March 23.