Rates relief process plagued by delays

Published on: 17th August 2017

The Government has recently intervened in an attempt to speed up business rates relief to thousands of small businesses across the country that have been adversely affected.

Despite being promised millions of pounds of support in March’s Budget, many firms who lost small business rates relief as a consequence of the 2017 revaluation are still waiting for their bills to be adjusted and relief to be applied.

During the 2017 revaluation the majority of businesses saw little change to their bills but it is estimated that there were nearly 25,000 small companies that lost their entitlement to small business rates relief and faced rates rises of up to 3,000%.

Following the increase of the threshold for small business rates relief, Chancellor Philip Hammond assured those companies that missed out that their bills wouldn’t go up by more than £50 a month.  These measures have been overcome by delays, with many Local Authorities stating they are unable to amend bills without further guidance being published by the Government.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "We've been clear that Local Authorities should take urgent steps to make sure small businesses benefit from the funding that we announced at the Budget in April.”

"There are Councils that have pressed ahead and issued revised bills. Others have chosen to wait for software updates to deliver this particular scheme and we've taken steps to make sure business get this relief as quickly as possible."

Rob Cohen, partner in our rating team in Leeds, commented, “These delays are causing significant confusion for firms across the country and are unfortunately just another sign of a failing system that is serious need of further reform.”

Unsure how the delays might affect you? Speak to Rob on 0113 221 6120 or email him at rob.cohen@sw.co.uk

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