Local Authorities still sitting on rates relief meant for businesses most affected

In the Spring Budget this year the Chancellor announced that the Government would provide £300 million of rates relief to businesses most affected by the 2017 rates revaluation. However, local authorities have been slow to implement the relief and many have yet to even confirm the scheme that will determine who will be able to claim the rates reduction.

For those councils that have prepared a scheme for considering relief the criteria varies significantly. For example, Cheltenham, Reading, Sevenoaks, Wycombe and Kensington exclude businesses with more than one or two properties nationally, Leeds will not provide any relief to “large businesses”, Kingston Upon Thames excludes pubs, whilst Westminster and Liverpool will consider if the ratepayer is of benefit to the local community.

Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association said:
“With significant brick-and-mortar assets, hospitality and tourism businesses have suffered disproportionately from business rate rises. The short-term £300 million fund for local authorities to provide discretionary relief to help small businesses with business rates is merely a band aid on a broken system. We remain extremely worried that some small hospitality businesses, facing an average 23% rates increase, will be forced out of business; particularly as back in August the response to our Freedom Of Information request from Valuation Office Agency found that 20,490 hospitality businesses were still awaiting the outcome of appeals from 2010. Local authorities need to act now and prioritise hospitality and tourism businesses facing severe circumstances before it is too late.”

David Shuttleworth, vice president of Altus Group, commented:

“The Government and local authorities should focus their efforts on providing the promised rate relief to businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry as soon as possible. It is appalling that 6 months after the announcement that relief would be made available, over 140 councils have yet to even determine which businesses will receive any financial assistance”

The delays in implementing rate relief and the varied, complicated schemes being adopted across the country are impacting those businesses in most need of assistance.

The BHA partner Altus Group assists members in ensuring that their rates are at the lowest possible level and if you would like to take advantage of their expertise at a discounted cost please click on the rates check at http://ratescheck.co.uk/bha/

Exclusive offer to BHA members – free expert consultation on Business Rates

Do you need professional advice to help reduce your Business Rates liability?

The BHA has partnered with Altus Group to provide services to help members reduce their business rates liability and update them on relevant changes to the Business Rates system. Over the last 60 years, Altus Group has built up one of the most highly regarded and trusted professional property advisory services in the UK. They represent over 16,000 clients and understand the intricacies of the hospitality sector representing both hospitality SME’s through to larger organisations.

Altus can help BHA members with guidance on all issues related to Business Rates, whether in deciding to appeal or taking advantage of options such as paying rates to their local authority in 12 monthly, rather than 10 monthly instalments. To arrange your free consultation with Altus Group please email businessrates@bha.org.uk.

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