The British Independent Retailers Association (bira), which has been campaigning on the rates issue since 2011, welcomed key announcements in the Chancellor's statement.\r\n\r\nThe announcement will take 600,000 premises out of paying rates and benefit a further 250,000 above the threshold. This will help both the 64 percent of shops in England and Wales that have RVs up to \u00a312,000 and those around the average RV of a shop, which is just over \u00a327,000.\r\n\r\nAlan Hawkins, bira CEO, commented: "The government has listened to businesses and in particular to the High Street shops whose business rates pain first alerted everyone to the damaging effects of this outdated tax. These changes go a long way to alleviating that pain in the longer term and bira welcomes that."\r\n\r\nHe added: "The world of retail is still changing at a breakneck pace, so we believe that we must look beyond 2020 and create a tax system fit for the next decade - and further. That task of achieving truly fundamental reform remains - and bira is keen to engage in the process of achieving real change for the future."