033. Changes to business rates exemptions mean that many small businesses will no longer have to pay any business rates

The conversation around the business rates changes has focused on the impact on small businesses, particularly retailers. But because the threshold that exempts a number of small properties from paying rates is being raised, a large number of small businesses will see their bills fall to zero. These changes mean that in all but five cities, more than half of properties will pay no business rates at all.

Across England and Wales as a whole, the number of properties that will be exempt will increase from 46 per cent to 65 per cent. Southend will see the largest increase in excluded properties, with the number rising from 45 per cent to 70 per cent. And the changes will mean that Burnley will have the highest share of its properties exempted – 82 per cent will not be required to pay business rates in 2017/18 (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Properties that are exempt from business rates