Cabinet approves further
rate relief for local businesses
WIRRAL businesses which have been
adversely affected by this year's 'Business Rates Revaluation' may qualify for
financial assistance to help provide relief against the impact of the changes.
Wirral Council's Cabinet today approved a recommendation to amend its existing
policy to provide 'Discretionary Rate Relief' to local businesses to reflect the
availability of additional funding provided by central Government and pass this
financial support on to those that need it most.
The Government is providing additional support in 3 distinct areas;
supporting small business, support for public houses and an extension to the
discretionary fund. Now that Wirral Council has full details of these schemes; and the software to process them; it is seeking to agree an amended:-
Non-Domestic Rates Discretionary Relief Policy' in order to allow local
businesses who qualify to access this new support.
Cllr Janette Williamson, Cabinet member for Finance and Income Generation, said
the Council is determined to see these new forms of rate relief passed on those
businesses that need it most. "A priority in the Wirral Plan is for Wirral
to be a place where employers want to invest and businesses are able to thrive. Encouraging small businesses to develop and grow is at the heart of this
and as business rates represent a significant cost to them, we are keen to
ensure small businesses in particular can access rate relief.
The Council already operates a discretionary rate relief policy, which was
approved for 2017/18. With the detail behind the Government's proposals for 3
other schemes now announced, the Council policy is being amended in order to
provide support for more than 600 businesses and 100 public houses in Wirral
this year. Better still, these discounts will be awarded without businesses
needing to complete an application form. This is a real demonstration that
Wirral is a welcoming and supportive place to do business, with a local
authority that will give them the best possible chance to succeed."
As part of the extended Discretionary Fund, the Government is investing ₤300
million over the next 4 years to support businesses which face a significant
increase in their business rates as a result of the 2017 revaluation. Wirral's
allocation is ₤912,000 over 4 years; ₤532,000 in the 1st year, reducing
over subsequent years when the fund expires.
In Wirral, the proposal is to provide local small to medium sized businesses
with relief if their business rates were projected to rise by more than 5% and
their new rateable value is less than ₤200,000 as a result of the revaluation.
It is forecast that more than 600 local businesses will benefit.
Under the 'support for small business' relief scheme, around 30 Wirral
small businesses will qualify to have their business rates increase capped at
₤600 per year, while as part of the 'support for public houses'
initiative, which is for 1 year only, around 100 Wirral pubs and similar venues
will receive business rate relief of up to ₤1,000 provided they have an rateable
value of less than ₤100,000.
The help has been praised within the local business community. Peter Russell,
the Chairman of recruitment firm Russell Taylor Group, which is based in
Bromborough, mentors young local entrepreneurs and he said support such as this
is a lifeline to fledgling businesses. Peter said:- "Getting help and
support with overheads such as this can make or break a small business that has
recently started up. It is really good news that companies which are facing a
big increase in their business rates will qualify for this financial relief; it
will cushion the blow while they continue to grow."
And Steve Wood, Director of Birkenhead based Parity Medical, added:- "Our
company is growing, but the award of partial rates relief after the national
revaluation is still very welcome as it allows us to re-invest in infrastructure
and continue to increase our workforce, further supporting the local economy."
Cllr Williamson emphasised that rates relief will be particularly beneficial to
a sector of the local economy which is going through an especially difficult
period. She said:- "This support will provide a much needed boost for
businesses and to public houses in Wirral in particular. Pubs all over the
country have been struggling of late with an average of 27 closing per week.
Hopefully this rate relief will provide a bit of a buffer in difficult times."