Councils still failing retailers with “shambolic delay” on rates relief

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Many local councils across the UK have still not distributed their share of the £300m of rates relief announced in March.

According the the FSB, a substantial number of councils are yet to design a local distribution system, let alone actually hand out the funds. The organisation predicts that it will take until August or September for these councils to organize their schemes.

One such council is Shropshire, which was allocated £1,308,000 of rates relief by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Despite government guidance being issued in late May, the council is still claiming there is not enough information for them to build a fair relief distribution strategy.

When asked by a councillor for an update on June 22, the council’s finance portfolio holder David Minnery reiterated their previous comment: “The Council is currently considering whether it is sensible, or even feasible, to commence design of a discretionary relief scheme.”

The FSB has called on Community Secretary Sajid Javid to push councils into action. Their policy director Martin Mctague said: “This shambolic delay means some small businesses are being left with no choice but to delay investment, avoid taking on staff or even close their doors, while they are waiting for this assistance.”

Both HMRC and the DCLG had previously stated that councils have everything they need to distribute the resources. Retail Express approached Savid Javid for a reply and are awaiting his response.

By Jack Courtez Avatar
By Jack Courtez 07 Jul, 2017



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