NMA: News Media Must be Front Of The Queue For Business Rates Relief

News media, which provides a vital service providing trusted information to the public, must be at the front of the queue for business rates relief, following the Chancellor’s announcement of new measures to support businesses, the News Media Association said.

In the spending review yesterday, the Government announced that it was “considering options for further Covid-19 related support through business rates reliefs” as part of its coronavirus support package.  Plans for 2021-22 reliefs will be outlined in the New Year.    

The NMA welcomed the announcement but urged Government to place news media at the front of the queue for the measures, to enable newspapers to continue to provide trusted journalism for communities across the UK.

The NMA said: “The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the vital service provided to communities by news media up and down the UK, and audiences for journalism have increased significantly as result.

“But the sector, particularly local news media, urgently needs support if it is to emerge from this crisis on a sustainable footing. The NMA and our members have been calling for business rates relief for news media since the start of the crisis and we welcome the Government’s announcement of further measures in this area.

“It is absolutely vital that the news media sector is placed at the front of the queue for this relief which will help ensure communities can continue to benefit from trusted journalism.”  

Earlier this month, the NMA wrote to the Chancellor to call for the existing scheme for local news media, which was secured for the industry by the NMA and allows publishers to claim £1,500 business rates relief for local newspaper offices, to be expanded.

Under the NMA’s proposals, the rate of relief would be increased to 80 per cent and the scope of the relief should also be expanded to include premises that are used for publishing activities and associated administrative services which contribute to the production of local newspapers.

This would include editorial hubs and warehouses with printing presses.