Mark Conrad 15 November 2017

Six in ten councils make progress on business rates relief

More than 200 councils have now reissued business rates bills in accordance with the Government’s discretionary relief package, latest figures have shown.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) this week revealed that 204 out of 326 billing authorities have reissued bills that include support offered to businesses under the £300m discretionary rate relief fund announced in March’s Budget.

This represents an increase of 47 councils compared with DCLG data released in mid-October.

Some large authorities, including Rotherham MBC and Exeter City Council, were missing from the initial list.

A spokeswoman for Rotherham said: ‘We provided our data to the DCLG some time ago.’

As well as discretionary rate relief, chancellor Philip Hammond announced two further measures designed to support businesses in 2017/18 - a £110m fund that caps rates increases for small businesses and a £25m fund to help Britain’s troubled pubs industry.

Just three local authorities – Copeland, Hambleton and South Northants – have now failed to supply any data on business rates support to the DCLG.

However, the Association of Convenience Stores has called on the Government to take further action against the authorities that have yet to issue amended bills.

ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: 'The £300m discretionary scheme is supposed to alleviate some of the pressure of rising business rates costs, but businesses in over 100 local authority areas are still waiting to find out how councils are planning to spend that money.

'The Government needs to apply further pressure to ensure that businesses receive the reliefs that they’re entitled to as soon as possible.'

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