Media release - issued 09 Mar 2018

Boost for business as rate relief extended

More than 150 businesses in Rushmoor are to benefit from a big increase in business rate relief and an extension to those qualifying for the scheme.

The council's Cabinet, meeting on Tuesday 6 March, agreed two important changes to its discretionary rate relief policy, originally agreed in September 2017, which will ease the tax burden on some small and medium-sized business.

These will be:

  • To increase the percentage relief awarded to qualifying ratepayers from 42% to 57%
  • To reduce the restriction that relief will only be granted where the increase in rates is greater than 12.5% to greater to than 10%. payable between 2016-17 and 2017-18

The move follows three new schemes of discretionary rate relief announced by the Chancellor in last year's spring budget, covering business ratepayers who had experienced large increases in their bills following a major revaluation. Rushmoor Borough Council's allocation to support its scheme is £533,000 over four years.

Business rate relief is only awarded to businesses who meet a strict set of criteria including those with a rateable value of less than £200,000. It is not awarded to betting and gambling premises, pawnbrokers and payday lenders. Full qualifying criteria is available on the council's Business rates web pages.

Under the original scheme, the council had planned to award £294,000 to 122 businesses, but because some have moved away and, due to state aid law, which allows a business to receive a maximum of £179,000 of aid in a three-year period, only 114 were able to benefit.

This left £108,000 unclaimed, which will now be awarded under the new scheme, benefiting further relief to the 114 businesses and extending the scheme to include 41 more businesses. Any remaining funds will be awarded on a case-by-case basis.   

Councillor Gareth Lyon, Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet member for Concessions and Community Support, said: "We're happy to take this step in increasing the level of business rate relief by 15% and by expanding it so that more small and medium-sized businesses can qualify for business rate relief. It was important we moved to re-allocate the funds left in the pot and I'm delighted the Cabinet has moved quickly to do this. 

"We want Rushmoor to be one of the best places in the country to run a small business - as a council we're determined to do all we can to help local businesses manage and grow."

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