Small businesses are missing out on more than £5m in business rates relief as 10 local authorities have failed to hand out the funds made available.
Nearly a year after discretionary rates relief was announced by the Government, a minority of local councils are still yet to give out any of the funding, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Out of 309 local authorities, 299 have begun to distribute their share of the £175m made available by Theresa May’s Government for the 2017-2018 tax year. However, between the remaining 10 councils, small businesses are missing out on more than £5m in funding.
The councils that have failed to pass on discretionary rates relief to retailers and other small businesses are Nottingham, West Berkshire, Thurrock, Salford, Tendring, Copeland, Tewkesbury, Eastleigh, Rochford and the Isles of Scilly.
Eastleigh and the Isles of Scilly are also the only two councils to not hand out any business rates relief.
Despite the Conservative Government’s efforts to force local councils to hand out rates relief funds, the majority of the worst-offending councils listed above are run by the Conservative party.
Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry said the delays to relief were "nothing short of a living nightmare for millions of small firms".
Smaller stores may qualify for small business rate relief, but for those that fall above the rateable value cap, discretionary relief or rural relief funding is the only way to reduce the businesses rates liability.