Over the next few weeks, thousands of businesses will start to receive updated business rates bills that account for the discounts, such as small business rate relief, they’re entitled to.
Since the April revaluation, there’s been a series of delays as local councils struggle with the consequences of the changes to bills, with the Government having to set a deadline for them to have everything in order.
While this process will hopefully conclude soon, the issue of discretionary rate relief is very much alive. There’s a new £300m fund for councils to give to rate-paying businesses at their discretion, as well as the existing provisions for local authorities to give relief whenever they wish.
All this means that if you can demonstrate the impact of rising business rates on your store and to the community you serve, you can make a case for receiving discretionary rate relief.
Our latest Community Barometer might help you to make this case. It shows that the two services that have the most positive impact in a local area are post offices and convenience stores.
You can add to this national research by talking about the value you bring to the local community, whether that’s the people who rely on your store, the local events you support, or the investment you make and the jobs you support.
When it comes to the much-needed holistic overhaul of the rates system, there has been positive progress in Scotland with the publication of the Barclay Review, recommending ways that the business rates system can incentivise investment rather than discourage it, as well as making recommendations on more frequent revaluations to ensure that bills are as accurate as possible.
We will be encouraging the Westminster Government to follow Scotland’s example in giving proper attention to business rates reform, and this will be central to our submission ahead of this November’s Budget.