Attractions industry news

27 Oct 2021

UK Budget 2021: Business rates cut by half for health clubs, leisure and hospitality

UK Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will all receive a 50 per cent cut in business rates over the next year.

The cut was announced in today's Autumn Budget by chancellor Rishi Sunak and is part of the UK government's plans to provide a boost for the economy as it looks to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Speaking at the House of Commons, Sunak said the move will “make the business rates system fairer and timelier with more frequent revaluations every three years”.

It was one of two significant announcements made regarding the industry, with the other being the confirmation of £850m worth of investment being made available for museums to "redevelop and refurbish their sites".

“The country’s most cherished museums and galleries will benefit from an £850m post-pandemic funding boost to breathe life back into our world-renowned cultural and heritage hotspots," Sunak said.

The funding will also see more than 100 regional museums and libraries being renovated, restored and revived.

Parts of the tourism sector did not fare so well, with UKinbound, the trade association that represents the interests of the UK’s inbound tourism sector, called the Budget a "kick in the teeth".

The trade body is unhappy with a new ultra long haul band in Air Passenger Duty (APD), introduced in the Budget for flights of over 5,500 miles.

It will add an economy rate of £91 to long-haul flights when it comes into force from April 2023.

Lauren Broughton, UKinbound's Head of Public Affairs, said: "Increasing APD on long-haul flights is a kick in the teeth to the UK’s third-largest export industry, which is only just beginning its recovery.

"Inbound tourism brings new money into regional economies, supports over 500,000 jobs across the country and will significantly aid the country’s economic recovery and Global Britain ambitions, but imposing further taxes on an already struggling industry is counterintuitive.”

In addition to the business rates cut, there was also some good news for pubs and restaurants in the form of a new “draught relief” scheme. It will cut the tax by 5 per cent on drinks served from draught containers over 40 litres and bringing the price of a pint down by 3p, encouraging people back to the pubs and restaurants.

To read Sunak's Budget speech in full, click here.

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