Small high street agencies could see cost savings of up to “five figures” after the chancellor pledged to slash business rates in this week’s Budget.

Philip Hammond’s move was welcomed by the trade against the backdrop of a “challenging” trading climate.

The rate cut of one-third, from April 2019, is for firms with a ‘rateable value’ of £51,000 or less. A business’s rateable value is linked to the size of premises.

This is likely to benefit most one‑branch travel agencies and those with several shops.

The government estimated the move would save 90% of independent businesses a collective £900 million at a time when consumers are not prepared to spend more on travel, according to the latest Holiday Confidence Index by First Rate Exchange Services (page 87).

Abta said the business rate reduction would assist smaller high street agents.

The Travel Network Group chief executive Gary Lewis said: “UK high streets have been significantly disadvantaged in recent years. The Budget has at least given some positive news to all those businesses trading in what can only be described as challenging conditions.”

Agents welcomed the rates cut. Carolyn Park, director of C The World, which has three branches in the southwest, said: “This will be an enormous help. At face value we will make a five-figure saving. I can allocate that money towards other projects.”

Nathan Collins, director of one‑branch RB Collection in Lichfield, said: “Any saving for small businesses from the government is advantageous, especially in the last 12 to 24 months when costs have gone through the roof, with increasing fees like credit cards.”

Gemma Antrobus, managing director of one-branch Haslemere Travel in Surrey, said: “It could make a huge difference to us and the majority of Aito Specialist Travel Agents [of which she is chairman] are small businesses and will welcome this.”

Jeanne Lally, director of The Travel Bureau, Gosforth, said her branch was likely to benefit, but added: “It’s great if we benefit but there was nothing in the Budget that made me think it will get the economy jumping.

“This is a step in the right direction, but whether it will be enough to rejuvenate the high street generally, I’m not sure.”

Some small agencies are already exempt from paying business rates because they qualify for small business rate relief, which is available to businesses with rateable values below £12,000.