06/10/2017 / Leave a comment / Permalink

Eligible Shropshire businesses urged to apply for rates relief

Related topics: Corporate, finance, assets

Shropshire Council and Shropshire Business Board are urging eligible local businesses to apply for business rates relief.

A discretionary business rates relief scheme was announced in the March 2017 Budget to help alleviate the increased financial burdens created by the business rates revaluation which came into effect on 1 April 2017. Local councils have been awarded funding and given the task of choosing how to distribute funding in their areas.

Shropshire Council has been awarded just over £2.2m over four years and has designed a scheme for distributing this funding to eligible Shropshire businesses.

The council has identified over 1000 businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £200,000 that have seen an increase in their net rates, after all other reliefs have been taken into account. The total increase for these businesses is estimated at around £1.5 million.

Letters are currently being sent to these businesses with an amended business rates bill explaining the discretionary scheme and advising businesses that if they don’t wish to apply for the relief they should advise the council within 14 days.

In the Budget, the Chancellor also announced two further rate reliefs: Supporting Small Businesses Relief, for those who had lost Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the revaluation; and a Public House Relief.

Applications for these reliefs were issued by Shropshire Council on 6 July, to those ratepayers identified as being entitled to either or both of the reliefs. To date a large number of these applications remain outstanding.

Shropshire Council has sent out reminders with the advice that if you have received an application, to complete and return them – if not already done so.

The relief schemes have now been discussed and considered by Shropshire Council’s Place Overview Scrutiny Committee and Shropshire Business Board, who are encouraging business to look out for these letters, check their eligibility and get their applications in.

Councillor Gwilym Butler, Chairman of the Place Overview Scrutiny Committee said:

“I’m pleased that Shropshire Council is working with Shropshire Business Board, and Shropshire Chamber, to raise awareness of these important relief schemes. We urge businesses to look out for a letter, check if they are eligible and send in their applications.”

Mandy Thorn MBE, Chair of Shropshire Business Board, said:

‘’Following the recent revaluation in April 2017 the Shropshire Business Board are supporting Shropshire Council to help encourage businesses who have been identified as being eligible for rate reliefs to complete and return their application forms. These schemes are being delivered to help reduce some of the financial burden from the recent revaluation and will only be open for a limited time therefore please look out for the letters that are being issued by Shropshire Council.”

David Minnery, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for finance, said:

“The discretionary scheme will reduce the business rate liability of qualifying businesses. This scheme will ensure that an additional £1.3m is put into Shropshire’s business economy this year, helping local businesses that have seen the largest increases in their business rate liability.”

Further information

Shropshire Council has been allocated the following discretionary funding over a four-year period to provide additional discretionary relief to businesses adversely affected by the 2017 revaluation.

  • 2017/18 – £1,308,000
  • 2018/19 – £635,000
  • 2019/20 – £262,000
  • 2020/21 – £37,000

The grant funding was based on businesses with at least a 12.5% increase in their rateable value (RV) where the rateable value was less than £200,000. Central government have made it clear that they will only fund local authorities up to the agreed grant share levels detailed above.

Principles for new discretionary relief scheme

New discretionary relief will only be awarded after all other reliefs have been awarded.

Relief won’t be offered to:

  • businesses with rateable value of £15,000 or less as eligible small businesses will be covered by small business rate relief.
  • New occupiers of properties won’t receive relief, as relief is to protect ratepayers from large rateable value increases from the revaluation. New occupiers won’t have been affected by the revaluation.
  • National businesses. Notification to ratepayers will confirm the state aid limit, confirming that a business mustn’t receive more than 200,000 euros state aid in a three-year period.
  • Charities – who already receive a minimum 80% mandatory rate relief.

Properties where the rateable value increases after 1 April 2017 won’t receive relief as any revaluation after 1 April 2017 will be as a result of a material change, and not the revaluation.

Any rateable value increases with effect from 1 April 2017 should have a zero impact on the award of relief as transitional relief will adjust to compensate for the increase.

Any business that qualifies for new discretionary rate relief that has a reduction in rateable value with effect from 1 April 2017 will have new discretionary rate relief reduced accordingly, potentially to zero depending on the level of rateable value reduction.

Ratepayers who lost their entitlement to small business rate relief following the revaluation, and who will have their increases in bills limited to £600 in 2017-18, will be excluded from receiving additional relief under this scheme.

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