South Cambs business owners could soon benefit from rates relief fund

Around 300 business owners in South Cambs could soon be receiving financial relief from increased bu

Around 300 business owners in South Cambs could soon be receiving financial relief from increased business rates if a new policy is approved. - Credit: Archant

Business owners in South Cambs could soon be receiving financial relief – to the tune of £1,200 on average – if a new policy surrounding business rates is approved next week.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has been allocated £849,000 over four years by the Government, 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 the announcement, district council officers have been designing a scheme that will allow them to target relief where it’s most needed, in a way that provides benefits to those most affected by revaluation.

The proposals confirm that any business with a rateable value of under £200,000 facing a bill increase of 10 per cent would be eligible to apply for the relief.

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At a meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Simon Edwards will consider a recommendation to formally adopt the Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy – and estimates around 300 firms could be eligible.

Mr Edwards, the council’s finance and staffing portfolio holder, said: “We really recognise the importance of businesses to the local economy, and understand the challenges that they face.

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“So of course, we want to support firms within the district.

“With both of those points in mind, our officers have worked very hard to come up with a scheme designed to make a real difference to businesses.

“If the scheme is adopted, it is important to remember that every case will be considered on its merits, with consideration also given to the interests of council taxpayers of South Cambridgeshire.

“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.”

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.

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