Monday 13 May 2019
Small retailers urged to apply for new Business Rates discount which has saved local businesses nearly £600,000
Households and businesses received annual Council Tax and Business Rates bills recently and South Cambridgeshire District Council is now urging people not to miss out on any discounts they may be entitled to.
One new discount for 2019-2021 – the Retail Discount – was announced by the Government in its autumn budget. The Discount sees small retailers that meet certain eligibility criteria entitled to claim a third off their annual Business Rates.
The scheme will run for two years from April 2019, and officers at South Cambridgeshire District Council believe there could be around 50 further businesses eligible to claim what could equate to around £150,000 under the new Retail Discount.
In the same way that households are ‘banded’ so that Council Tax bills can be calculated, businesses are given a ‘Rateable Value’. The new Retail Discount is available to retailers with a Rateable Value below £51,000, that use their premises wholly or mainly for retail purposes and are reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.
Examples of the types of businesses that might be eligible include shops, opticians, post offices, show rooms, markets, garden centres, art galleries, hair and beauty services, repair services, ticket offices, travel agents, funeral directors, restaurants, takeaways, coffee shops, pubs and bars. There are some businesses that will be excluded from the scheme – such as financial services, estate agents, medical services and professional services including solicitors and accountants.
Cllr John Williams, Lead Cabinet Member for Finance at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “One of the four key priorities for South Cambridgeshire District Council is to support businesses of all sizes across our district. We think part of this is to clearly signpost the financial support that is available, whether through grant funds administered locally or the many different reliefs and discounts that are already available from central Government.
“The main message here is that there are discounts available that haven’t yet been claimed to support our smaller retailers. We are encouraging anyone who provides a service or runs a retail business, who isn’t sure whether they are eligible for the discount, to contact our team. We will be happy to discuss your circumstances and, in just a couple of minutes, confirm whether you are indeed eligible for a third off your Business Rates. This could be around £10,000 for some businesses, which I’m sure would be a welcome sum for many local retailers.
“What’s more, while we are raising awareness of the Retail Discount because it’s new, we also want to remind business owners and householders that there are a number of existing reliefs and discounts already available to Business Rates and Council Tax customers. For example, there are Council Tax discount entitlements for people who have a severe mental impairment, for single people, or for properties that are empty following the death of a resident or are undergoing structural alterations. The message here is the same: if you are unsure about whether you qualify for a particular reduction or discount, please contact our team, who will be happy to help.”
Businesses wishing to find out more about the available reliefs and discounts on Business Rates should visit the Council’s website, www.scambs.gov.uk/business-rates/business-rates-reliefs-and-exemptions.