DCLG demands councils act swiftly on rates relief

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

22 June 2017

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has written to councils to instruct them to deliver the business rates relief promised in this year’s budget.

The letter, dated 20 June, follows concerns that local councils were not acting swiftly enough to ensure pubs receive all the rates reliefs to which they are entitled.

At the Spring Budget, the Government also announced a new relief scheme for pubs that have a rateable value of below £100,000. Under the scheme, eligible pubs will receive a £1000 discount on their bill. The relief will have effect for 2017/18. The move is estimated to cover 90% of pubs in England.

In addition, local authorities are to receive a £300m fund to deliver discretionary relief to help ease the burden on individual hard cases. Furthermore, any business coming out of Small Business Rate Relief will benefit from an additional cap, that will mean their rates will not increase by more than £50 a month.

The DCLG says it expects billing authorities to have communicated with ratepayers on the confirmed terms of the new schemes for relief and to have outlined anticipated timescales for rebilling where necessary.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds, said: 'I am grateful to DCLG for issuing clear guidance that stresses how important it is for councils to ensure that local business receive all the rates relief for which they qualify. Local authorities now need to get on and deliver these lower bills to businesses. For pubs, this is much needed, given the very great extra cost pressures they are facing this year.'

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