North Herts businesses invited to apply for rate relief - as South Cambs scheme also gets green light

PUBLISHED: 13:15 25 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:15 25 August 2017

North Herts and South Cambs businesses could soon benefit from rate relief.

North Herts and South Cambs businesses could soon benefit from rate relief.

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More than 100 businesses in North Herts are thought to be eligible to apply for financial relief from the hike in business rates - and South Cambs firms could also benefit, after their funding scheme was approved on Tuesday.

North Herts District Council has been allocated £548,000 over four years by the Government to help those most affected, after chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £300 million rate relief fund in his March budget.

The fund is in response to changes in the way business rates are calculated to support those firms facing the steepest rises since re-evaluation came into force on April 1 – and around 110 firms could benefit.

Officers from the district council have been designing a scheme that will allow the Council to allocate relief funds to where they are needed most.

A proposal for the Discretionary Business Rate Relief Scheme. was submitted and approved by the council’s cabinet in July.

Any business with a rateable value of under £200,000, that faces a bill increase of 12.5 per cent or more, is eligible to apply for funding.

Councillor Julian Cunningam, the district council’s executive member for finance, said: “As a council we are committed to supporting small and medium sized businesses affected by the budget changes.

“We hope that by offering this additional relief it will make a real difference to business owners and it will also provide a boost to the local economy.” Companies can apply directly using the online form available at www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/business/business-rates/local-discretionary-rate-relief-fund and the closing date for applications is Sunday, September 24.

South Cambs was allocated £849,000 which they say could help as many as 300 firms.

Councillor Simon Edwards accepted a recommendation to formally adopt a new Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy, and an estimated 300 firms could be eligible.

Mr Edwards said: “This is a positive step forward for businesses. It’s always difficult for them when we have these increases, but I’m really pleased that this fund is available for us to distribute to companies in our district.

“This scheme allows us to target those businesses which need the support most. We’ve tried to design a scheme that is fair, and will see each of them receive a meaningful amount.

“Those businesses that are being hardest hit are going to get some relief that will make life easier for them.

“We now plan to get this relief out to companies as quickly as possible.”

A separate fund of £50,000 is also being created from the money allocated to the council by the Government as part of the programme.

This is aimed at businesses in the district that do not qualify for the rate relief scheme mentioned above, but can demonstrate that the revaluation is causing them hardship.

Mr Edwards said last week “The separate hardship fund which is part of the programme also signifies the council’s willingness to help businesses that may not qualify for this rate relief, but can demonstrate to us that the revaluation has had a significant impact on them.”

See www.scambs.gov.uk/content/business-rates for more information.

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