Over 24,000 small businesses still waiting for rates relief

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Business Rates

Small businesses across the country are still waiting on financial help promised by the government to ease the strain of the business rates hike.

In the March budget, numerous measures were announced by the government including a cap to aid those who stood to be worst hit by the rise in business rates.

Despite the revaluation taking place in April, many small retailers are still waiting for their rates to be readjusted, after chancellor Philip Hammond promised that those who were to lose small business rate relief would not see their bills rise more than £50 per month.

£25 million was reportedly set aside for businesses facing a “cliff edge”, however according to the BBC most if not all of the 24,986 businesses that have lost their small business rates relief are yet to see any of this money.

This is reportedly due to lack of guidance from the government on how to proceed. Councils across England and Wales told the BBC they were awaiting instructions from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

READ MORE: Parliamentary inquiry to be launched into business rates

Although they currently are legally able to adjust business rates bills, there is no guarantee they will be reimbursed by the government.

“A common-sense approach here is needed,” chief executive of CVS Mark Rigby told the BBC.

“The money to help those most in need is coming from the government and there is no reason why revised tax demands shouldn’t have been sent out by local councils by now.

“These delays are simply causing panic, confusion and alarm for small firms.”

In response to growing pressure, the DCLG has now sent out the relevant paperwork to local councils and financial officers. A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “After receiving guidance, councils have now been able to begin working with businesses in their local areas to identify those eligible for this new discretionary relief funding.

“We have also published guidance on the additional relief available to support small businesses and have encouraged local authorities to inform businesses that are eligible as soon as possible.”

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