No bud­get re­lief for eques­trian busi­nesses

Rid­ing cen­tres have made a des­per­ate plea to a gov­ern­ment which has again failed to ad­dress the im­pact of the tax

Horse & Hound - - News Insider - By LUCY EL­DER

A DES­PER­ATE plea has been made to the gov­ern­ment to do more to ad­dress the im­pact of busi­ness rates on rid­ing cen­tres, af­ter the bud­get an­nounce­ment.

Chan­cel­lor Philip Hammond an­nounced cuts to busi­ness rates for re­tail­ers un­til 2021, but the As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish Rid­ing Schools (ABRS) said these do not help its mem­bers.

“What the gov­ern­ment fails to grasp, or does but ig­nores, is that rid­ing schools are dif­fer­ent to most busi­nesses in that their ‘stock’ con­sists of liv­ing be­ings,” ABRS trus­tee direc­tor Brenda Gil­li­gan told H&H, adding that de­creas­ing graz­ing or sta­bling is not an op­tion due to horses’ wel­fare needs.

“They can’t just move to a smaller rid­ing school two doors down — there isn’t one. They can’t build more sta­bles to house more horses to do more lessons, as the sta­bles are then rated, thus de­feat­ing the ob­ject.

“We des­per­ately need the gov­ern­ment to take these and more is­sues on board, but it has fallen on deaf ears so far.”

The Bri­tish Horse So­ci­ety (BHS), which has a long-run­ning cam­paign for fairer busi­ness rates, has con­tacted the chan­cel­lor.

In his bud­get speech, Mr Hammond said the gov­ern­ment has in­tro­duced rates re­lief mea­sures worth £12bn. He also met BHS chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Sarah Phillips in the spring and asked the BHS to col­lect ev­i­dence of the tax’s im­pact on the in­dus­try.

Busi­nesses can “check and

chal­lenge” rate­able val­ues on the Val­u­a­tion Of­fice Agency web­site.

BALANC­ING THE BOOKS

EM­PLOY­ERS will pay less to­wards ap­pren­tices’ train­ing from April 2019.

All busi­nesses whose wages bills come to un­der £3m pay

10% to­wards the cost of their ap­pren­tices’ train­ing, as well as their wages. From next spring, that train­ing con­tri­bu­tion will be halved to 5%, which works out at about £300 per per­son.

Chris Hewlett, man­ag­ing direc­tor of ap­pren­tice­ship provider Had­don Train­ing, told H&H this is not a huge amount of money, but will help busi­nesses.

He said if em­ploy­ers build ap­pren­tice­ships into busi­ness plans and “buy in” to train­ing and sup­port­ing staff, it can lead to pos­i­tive out­comes for both par­ties.

But while train­ing costs are de­creas­ing, the min­i­mum wage will in­crease from 2019, to £8.21 per hour for over-25s and £3.90 for ap­pren­tices.

Lucy Katan, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Bri­tish Grooms As­so­ci­a­tion, re­minded busi­nesses that pay­ing min­i­mum wage is the law.

“This is good news for grooms, as they will see a pay rise, but a chal­lenge for em­ploy­ers who must bal­ance the books,” she told H&H.

“HMRC has al­ready told the eques­trian in­dus­try they are tar­get­ing our sec­tor with in­ves­ti­ga­tions — they must be, as I have never heard of as many cases hap­pen­ing as there are now,” added Lucy.

“Em­ploy­ers re­ally should be aware of the sig­nif­i­cant fines for non-com­pli­ance and pro­tect them­selves. The Eques­trian Em­ploy­ers As­so­ci­a­tion are help­ing ev­ery day with this.”

Yards have been hit hard by pre­vi­ous in­creases in busi­ness rates

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.