The Government has announced that the final report of its fundamental review of business rates will be delayed and will be published in the autumn.
It says that by then there should be greater clarity about the economic situation and the future of the public finances.
The review was announced by Rishi Sunak at his Budget a year ago and a call for evidence was published last July.
A summary of responses to this call for evidence is set to be published in an interim report on 23 March 2021.
Business rates have become a politically charged topic with online retailers generally paying much less in business rates than their high street counterparts do.
Online retailers have been able to continue trading throughout the pandemic while most high street retailers have been forced to close for months or weeks at a time.
To continue to support businesses, the Government announced in the 2021 Budget that it will continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England with 100 per cent business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.
This will be followed by 66 per cent business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.
This means that 750,000 retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England will continue to pay no business rates for a further three months from 1 April 2021, with the vast majority of eligible businesses receiving 75 per cent relief across the year.