Businesses bogged down by business rates relief delay, say experts

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Thousands of SMEs (small and medium-sized businesses) struggling to cope with ballooning business rates are still waiting for financial help from the Government, it has been revealed.

Vulnerable businesses were promised relief ahead of April’s rate hike, but the plans were put on ice in face of a general election.

Some small firms have seen their business rates – which are based on rental values of commercial property – rise by as much as 3,000 per cent.

In March, Chancellor Philip Hammond said businesses who struggle to pay the new rates will receive a discount and would not see their bills increase by more than £50 a month.

CVS, a business rates specialist, said up to 24,896 businesses have been affected by the delays.

Along with the general election, it said councils have not received proper guidance from the Government to implement the promised relief.

Mark Rigby, Chief Executive of CVS, said: “A common sense approach here is needed.

“The money to help those most in need is coming from the government and there is no reason why revised tax demands shouldn’t have been sent out by local councils by now.

“These delays are simply causing panic, confusion and alarm for small firms.”

A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “After receiving guidance, councils have now been able to begin working with businesses in their local areas to identify those eligible for this new discretionary relief funding.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) added: “We have also published guidance on the additional relief available to support small businesses and have encouraged local authorities to inform businesses that are eligible as soon as possible.”