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Estate agents given business rates exemption

Estate and letting agents that closed due to coronavirus will be exempt from business rates in the next financial year.

If businesses have already made a payment they will be refunded by their local authority.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor, said: “We are determined to do whatever it takes to support businesses during Covid-19, which is why we have extended business rates relief for the high street.

“Today, I am removing some the exclusions for this relief, so that retail, leisure, and hospitality properties that have closed as a result of the measures announced by the Prime Minister in his statement on Monday will now be eligible for the relief.

“This will ensure that estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls that are required to close will not pay any business rates next year.”

Isobel Thomson, chief executive of safeagent, said: “We’re grateful to the government for recognising the urgent need to extend the business rate exemption to estate and letting agents.

“There are tough times ahead for the industry and it was crucial that this support was extended.

“safeagent, along with other industry organisations has pressed government hard over the last few weeks on the issue of business rates, and we appreciate they have listened.”

Mark Hayward, chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “We are pleased to see that the government has listened and acknowledged the concerns from many estate and letting agencies across the country, that resulted in requests to three secretaries of state last week for the business rates relief to be extended to estate and letting agents.

“This is a real boost in uncertain times and will assist all businesses that are finding it difficult to operate in the current environment.”