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Issue:- 23 September 2010

Just one week left for Merseyside’s firms to claim £7.5 million in backdated small business rate relief

SMALL businesses across Merseyside could lose out on almost £7.5 million in backdated rate relief unless they lodge claims by the 30 September deadline, the Forum of Private Business and property specialist LeaseholdersUnited are warning.

Any small business occupying commercial premises between 1 April 2007 and April 2010 could be entitled to money back, but many firms will miss out on Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) unless they act now.

Using official data from Merseyside’s councils, including the SBRR claim and eligibility rates, LeaseholdersUnited has estimated the amount of SBRR that is currently unclaimed per annum in each local authority where reliable figures were available.

They are as follows:-

Liverpool City Council (£1,949,984); Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council (£317,665); Sefton (£664,066) and Wirral (£790,762).

These figures are for a single year. Businesses which claim before 1 October 2010 can often claim up to 3 years worth of backdated relief. So a conservative estimate would be that approximately £7.5 million (at least two years worth) is still to be claimed by firms in Merseyside out of the £200 million in total likely to be outstanding in the UK.

According to LeaseholdersUnited’s Andrew Bacon, who is the Forum’s Property Adviser, the problem is being made worse because too few business owners are aware that they can claim the relief. He said many local councils fail to provide details of the relief, publish inaccurate information and that some even continue to provide outdated, ineligible forms.

"Claiming backdated SBRR could mean that a small business paying £5000 a year in rent gets a cheque back from the council that is enough to cover overheads until March 2011, just for filling in a form,” said Mr Bacon. Unfortunately, most councils are saying nothing about the issue and many are handing out businesses forms that actually stop them backdating their claim. This is something we first highlighted back in 2008 and, despite assurances that it would be tackled, the problem persists. Time is running out so it is important to act now. The simple solution is for every business to send in the correct claim form before 30 September 2010. Those who are not eligible will simply be rejected but those that are eligible will get the money they deserve. We can help them.”

Mr Bacon urged business owners to follow five simple steps in order to make sure they submit claims before the 30 September 2010, deadline using the correct forms:-

► Go to

► Enter your local authority details and your email address

► Receive the correct form, together with completion notes and a fax number for the Council

► Fill it in and fax it off before 30 September 2010

► If you are eligible the Council will send you a cheque and then also automatically grant you any Small Business Rate Relief from 1 April 2010 onwards.

“Many businesses have downloaded claim forms for free from in the last two days, enabling them to claim as much as £5,000 each. Had they waited until 1st October to do this, they would only have been able to claim £2000”

Using official data including the SBRR claim and eligibility rates LeaseholdersUnited has estimated the amount of SBRR that is currently unclaimed in each local area of the UK.

Commenting on the figures the Forum’s Research Manager, Tom Parry, said:- “For the first time, we can begin to see a picture of the small business rate relief that is going unclaimed in each area and it amounts to a substantial amount of money at a time small firms in Merseyside are struggling to maintain any kind of cash flow. It is now a race against time. The message to small business owners is clear – if you are entitled to SBRR then lodge a claim without delay using LeaseholdersUnited’s free online service.”

Business owners should be aware that, from October 2010, SBRR is set to increase in England. Businesses with a rateable value of less than £6,000 will pay no business rates for a year. Previously they received a 50% discount.

Taper relief from 100% to 0 per cent will also be in place for properties of over £6,000 and up to £12,000 in rateable value for that period.

Further, empty property relief has been extended for 2010 to 2011 so that all empty properties with a rateable value below £18,000 are exempted from business rates.

Similar business rate relief schemes operate in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

LeaseholdersUnited’s free online claims system is one of a range of services designed to help business owners keep on top of their property costs.

Others include CostMINDER, which gives businesses the information they need to help them negotiate reductions in their rates, rent and other property costs without employing a Surveyor and an Online Valuation service, enabling businesses to instantly download an independent estimate of the rental and capital on nearly every shop, office or industrial property in England.

Forum members get a 50% discount on LeaseholdersUnited’s property cost control services, which represents a saving of £150 a year.

The Forum helps its members save money and manage their finances through its 'Finance Director' business support solution.

Through the solution, the not-for-profit organisation provides its members with expert advice on issues such as reducing business costs, improving credit ratings, business monitoring and business insurance.

For a list of the estimated SBRR unclaimed in each area click here and for more information about the Forum call:- 0845 612 6266 or visit:-


POLICE Detectives on Merseyside are appealing to people going clubbing in Liverpool this weekend for help in tracing a man wanted in connection with an assault on a student.

Officers want to speak to a man who was seen by several witnesses punching the 25 year old student in the face following an altercation between two groups of people in St Peter's Square in the Ropewalks area of the city at around 3am last Sunday, 22 September 2010.

The victim, who is from Ireland, fell to the floor and suffered serious head injuries after his head hit a black metal bar stool outside a nearby bar.

Paramedics attended and took the victim, who was unconscious, to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. He was later transferred to Walton Neurological Centre for specialist treatment following a bleed on the brain, where he is expected to make a full recovery.

Detectives have seized CCTV from several nearby bars and are appealing for people out in the city centre this weekend to contact them if they recognise the description of the offender.

He is described as an olive-skinned or tanned man around 5ft 10ins tall with short, black spikey hair. He was wearing a black jacket with distinctive red and silver stripes down the arms.

He is believed to have left the scene with a second man following the assault and headed up Seel Street, past Heebie Jeebies bar.

Detective Constable Neil Hughes from St Anne Street CID, said:- "This was a very nasty assault which left a young man in a serious condition in hospital. Thankfully he is recovering but it could have much worse as he hit his head with some force against a metal bar stool as he fell. We are determined to trace the offender and are appealing to people out in Liverpool this weekend for help. St Peters Square was extremely busy last Saturday going into Sunday morning so many people will have witnessed this assault. I would appeal for those people to come forward and tell us what they saw. The man we believe is the offender was wearing a very distinctive jacket, with red and silver stripes down the arms, and we are also appealing for anyone who knows him or saw him out that night to get in touch."

Call DC Hughes on:- 0151 777 4067 or leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111.

Thai Government learns lessons from Liverpool

A TOP level Thai delegation is coming to Liverpool to find out about the city’s successful work to tackle teenage pregnancy and improve sexual health.

The 13 strong Government team will hold discussions and receive presentations on Liverpool’s sexual health strategy and the work to support young people in the city.

Teenage pregnancy is a major issue in Thailand, with around 100,000 babies born to teenage mothers every year. The Thai Government has made it a priority to tackle the issue, but has not yet put a national strategy in place. They chose to learn lessons from Liverpool after identifying the city as an area of good practice.

The delegation, from Thailand’s Department of Social Development and Welfare, is led by Ms. Phanida Kamphu Na Ayuthaya, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. They will be meeting with city council and Liverpool Primary Care Trust officers.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Jane Corbett, said:- “We’re delighted to be welcoming this delegation. To be chosen by the Thai Government for such a high-profile visit is testament to the good work we are doing to improve sexual health, support young parents and tackle teenage pregnancy. Teenage parents face many unique challenges and it’s vital we support them at every step of the way. We are looking forward to sharing with the delegation the many things we are doing to assist young parents with nurturing their babies, helping them return to education or training, giving them access to health services and providing on-going support in their day-to-day lives.”

During their visit, the delegation will meet council and health staff as well as staff from partner agencies including Brook and Connexions. They will find out about the services available for teenage parents at the city’s 26 Sure Start Children’s Centres, including childcare, drop-in groups and outreach support, which sees staff visiting young people in their homes.

They will also learn about ‘Hit the Ground Crawling’, an innovative project run by young Liverpool dads, which provides advice and support for young dads to-be. And they will find out about ‘So To Speak’, a sexual health information and education outreach service for young people aged 13 to 20, in particular those at risk of social exclusion.

Following their visit to Kensington Children’s Centre, the delegation will visit the Brook centre on London Road, which provides free and confidential sexual health services and advice for young people under 25.

Dr Paula Grey, Director of Public Health for Liverpool, said:- “We are honoured to be welcoming this delegation and that the Thai Government has selected Liverpool for their visit. There is a lot of work being undertaken to improve sexual health, tackle teenage pregnancy and support young parents to ensure they fulfil their potential. We take a multi-agency approach and work with young people across the city to listen to what they really want and need, which is a key part of the success of what we are doing.”


MERSEYSIDE Police are appealing for information following a multiple vehicle RTC at the junction of Queens Drive and Haggerston Road on Tuesday, 21 September 2010. Eleven vehicles were damaged and eight people sustained minor injuries in the incident, which happened at around 5.30pm when a stolen Mitsubishi Shogun hit a number of cars as it forced its way along a the line of rush hour traffic. The black Shogun had been travelling along Queens Drive from Rice Lane towards Walton Hall Avenue. It turned left into Haggerston Road where it stopped as its front wheel was hanging off. The Shogun was abandoned and the male driver ran off. None of those involved in the incident needed paramedic attention. Four vehicles were removed from the scene as they were too badly damaged to be driven. Road Collision Investigators have attended the scene and carried out an examination. Anyone with any information is asked to call Merseyside Police on:- 0151 777 5771, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111.

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