Local Authorities Must Be More Proactive With Rates Relief

Kate Nicholls
Kate Nicholls, CEO of the ALMR.

The ALMR has warned that not enough is being done by local authorities to ensure that promised rates relief is being distributed to businesses.

The warning follows the publication of a list of local authorities that have notified the Government of their schemes to allocate and distribute business rates reliefs announced in the Budget in March.

Although the majority of local authorities have implemented a scheme to distribute rates relief for pubs, the ALMR is concerned that information about these schemes is not filtering through to businesses.

The ALMR is also concerned that discretionary relief for hardest hit businesses is not being allocated.

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR has been warning about the lack of relief flowing through for some time. Although most councils have shown some initiative and taken a proactive approach to pubs relief, the anecdotal evidence we have received from businesses shows that very few are actually receiving the promised support.

“Local authorities may have implemented schemes to distribute pub-specific relief, but we are concerned that far too few businesses are being made aware that this support is available.

“Discretionary relief distributed to local authorities to help support those businesses hardest hit is not flowing as freely as it should either.

“That means that in over 100 areas of England, hard-pressed pubs, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and cafés are not receiving the support they deserve from their local authority.

“The Government has acknowledged that pubs have been hard hit by recent rates increases and will continue to be put under pressure. But eating and drinking out businesses are shouldering an unfair business rates burden: overpaying by £900m per year. There needs to be a wider acknowledgement that many other businesses, not qualifying for pub-specific relief, are struggling too.

“Local authorities that have implemented pub relief schemes need to be proactive in making pubs aware and discretionary schemes for other businesses need to be implemented now.”