DCLG Says “No Delay In Rates Relief For Small Businesses”

The government has revealed that a £300m relief fund set up to help small businesses, including many in the hospitality and licensed sector who will be worst hit by the changes to business rates introduced in March has been made available for councils to share out. Up to half a million businesses including pubs and restaurants saw their rates bills, the commercial equivalent of council tax increase at the beginning of April after a revaluation of property hit parts of the country where prices have increased.

The news came after fears that the snap general election had delayed the process.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, the communities secretary Sajid Javid said there would be “absolutely no delay because of the general election”.

“It’s going ahead, exactly as planned. Councils are free to start using the scheme and helping local businesses,” he said.

The announcement means that all pubs and restaurants experiencing big hikes in business rates as a result of the rates shake-up will be able to access the £300m fund, subject to local criteria, to get further extra financial assistance on top of the £1,000 pub discount.

Mark Rigby, chief executive of business rent and rates specialists CVS, said: “I am heartened that the Department For Communities and Local Government have sought to clarify their stance over this important and much needed initiative and I would now urge councils across England to expedite the distribution of this relief to those firms hardest hit by the revaluation with business rates bills having already been sent out and the first tax instalment having been collected.”