£1,500 business rate discount for local newspaper offices included in the Budget

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Chancellor George Osborne today pledged to introduce a business rate discount for office space occupied by local newspapers in England in his budget proposals.

The announcement would see up £1,500 knocked off the cost of the tax to local publishers, but this is limited to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per “hereditament” (meaning property).

As Press Gazette understands it, this means newspaper “hubs” where more than one title is produced would only benefit from a flat £1,500 discount for the property they are based in and not per title, however HM Treasury has been contacted for clarification.

The discount would apply for two years from 1 April, 2017.

News Media Association deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson said: “The NMA is pleased to see in the Budget this afternoon that the Government has progressed its initiative of business rates relief for local newspapers.

“Publishers have never sought direct public subsidy but local newspapers are vital to democracy and it is good to see the Government supporting a dynamic and vibrant local press. We look forward to seeing the full details of how the initiative will operate.”

Picture: Reuters

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