At its meeting on 21 December, West Berkshire Council’s Executive approved a revised Business Rates Discretionary Rate Relief Policy, confirming two new forms of relief: Pub Relief and Supporting Small Businesses Relief, and introducing a third: 2017 Discretionary Relief.
The Pub and Supporting Small Businesses Reliefs had been available since July and so far, around 100 awards have been made. These reliefs are still available and being advertised to relevant businesses that haven’t yet applied.
Pub Relief gives up to a £1,000 discount for all pubs with a rateable value under £100,000 (and the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget that this discount will also be available in 2018/19). Supporting Small Businesses Relief ensures that businesses that lost some or all of their small business rates relief following the 2017 business rates revaluation, can limit the maximum annual increase to £600 for the next five years.
The new relief is 2017 Discretionary Relief which provides support for some of the businesses that are facing the largest increases as a result of the revaluation. In order to qualify, the business/property must:
• have seen more than a £600 increase in their annual business rates bill;
• have a rateable value of £150,000 or less;
• not be part of national chain or occupy many properties in many areas;
• not be a doctors’ surgery, NHS property, school or other relevant educational establishment;
• not be empty.
(In 2017/18 the Discretionary Relief will be for 70% of the increase, and this will decrease over the following three years in line with Government funding.)
Graham Bridgman, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Corporate Services, said: “We are issuing application forms for the new 2017 Discretionary Relief shortly, and should any business require a form or further information they can contact the council’s Business Rates team.
To ensure that no-one misses out, we have proactively identified the businesses that will qualify for the 2017 Discretionary Relief and will be imminently inviting them to apply – businesses that qualify will have until 31 March 2018 to do so, but no such business should lose out because any relief granted will be backdated to 1 April 2017 or whenever the business became liable for business rates if it was after that date.”
For further information please email the council’s Business Rates Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.