The Chancellor bowed to pressure on the impact of business rate revaluations, including further relief for SMEs and discounts affecting 90% of pubs.

He also announced a discretionary relief fund for local authorities, to help support challenges relating to business rates. He advised that details on how this will be allocated will be shared in due course and there will be a consultation before the next planned revaluation (which is likely to be in 2022).

Given that some councils have been waiting for today's budget in order to issue their business rate bills for 2017/18, it is not clear from the Chancellor's speech if the clarity required by local government is forthcoming - one has to hope there is further detail in the HMT Budget Book.