Local councils are failing to allocate the £300m of business rates relief announced in the Spring Budget, with many authorities blaming a lack of government guidance on how to distribute the funds.
Despite the government’s rates relief pledge, business rate bills sent out were for the full amount and businesses are now being chased for payment.
Federation of Small Businesses Chairman Mike Cherry said the government should “get a grip” on the problem and ensure the relief fund is distributed in June at the latest.
Conservative Chancellor Phillip Hammond had pledged that those losing small business rate relief would have rates increases capped to no more than £50 per month.
While some local councils have used this pledge to recalculate business rates bills, others have been wary that if they use their own initiative, they may not be reimbursed for the reduced bills by the national government.
However, the Department for Communities and Local Government has informed BBC News that the necessary guidance has now been supplied to allow councils to move forward with bill alterations.
Cherry commented on the delay stating: “Every local authority has known its fund allocation since April, so they should not be chasing small business owners for inflated bills as they have not got round to devising their distribution schemes.”
He continued: “The first order of business for the Communities Secretary in the next Government should be to get a grip and make sure the promised help is delivered in the first month of office.”
Do it: Read our advice on relief and on appealing your business rates valuation