Budget 2020 and Business Rates


AIM spoke to Colin Hunter of Lambert Smith Hampton about yesterday’s Budget and what it could mean for museum business rates. 

In his inaugural Budget on 11 March 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a rates holiday for some properties. His statement to the House made reference to “museums”. However the devil is often in the detail. The written Budget documentation refers to cinemas and music venues it does not include the word “museums”.

All is not lost however.

The document confirms that a 100% allowance will be made for retail, leisure and hospitality properties with a Rateable Value below £51,000. There is an existing Government document defining retail (which includes car showrooms and funeral parlours) but we will need to wait for the definition of hospitality and leisure, which should, based on the Chancellor’s statement, include museums.

There are a number of museums which have descriptions in the rating list such as visitor attraction, historic site, even shop or warehouse. Only properties with a description that fits within the definition of hospitality and leisure will receive the allowance.

All temporary reliefs are subject to State Aid rules but the charitable and cultural sectors are generally not subject to those rules. Also, as most Councils have already issued bills for the forthcoming tax year based on the guidance given to them in January, which didn’t mention the rates holiday, it might be some time before updated bills are issued.

In conclusion, if your museum has a Rateable Value of less than £51,000 and a description in the rating list that is within the definition of hospitality or leisure, next year should see your rates bill reduced to £0, but it might take a while for the corrected bill to be sent out.

In partnership with Lambert Smith Hampton, AIM has updated its guide on ‘Successfully Negotiating Business Rates’. Written by Colin Hunter, the guide covers the basics required to understand the complex world of Business Rates. If you have any queries on Business Rates, Colin will provide AIM members with a minimum of 15 minutes free consultation on 0113 245 9393.


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