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Chancellor Of The Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves number 11 Downing Street on Budget day 2017, London UK.
By Bira
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Act now to secure a rates reduction

MEMBERS HOPING TO secure a reduction in their business rates are urged to contact their local authority or council to find out how the reduction will be applied.

Bira has become aware of a lack of uniformity in the way local authorities are implementing the hard-fought 30% discount for businesses with a rateable value below £51,000, with some automatically applying it, while others require a form to be filled in.

In October 2018, Bira was delighted when Philip Hammond announced the discount in his autumn statement. The chancellor said the reduction would be applied to all retail premises (below the £51,000 threshold) and businesses would still receive the small business rates reliefs (applicable to businesses with a rateable value below £12,000).

Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “This was a real win for smaller independent retail businesses and a real reward for Bira’s campaign to reduce the burden of business rates. We have continued our work by challenging the local authorities to implement the 30% discount in the most expedient way so that all relevant businesses receive this much-needed saving. We have already written to the local authorities, reminding them to support retail businesses by making it easy to claim the discounts.”

It appears, however, the implementation may not be as uniform as Bira would like, mainly due to the different legacy systems used by local authorities. This is relevant because it is not uncommon for members to have premises in more than one local authority. It would be a mistake to expect the same treatment from each.

Andrew added: “We strongly recommend you contact your local authority – for each of your premises if you have more than one – and establish how your local authority or council intends to implement the rates discounts. We already know that some local authorities will automatically reduce the rates bill, but others are asking retail business owners to complete a form to apply for the discount. Either way, it is really important that you take the initiative and contact the authorities so you are well prepared.

“Together we have fought hard to obtain this discount and it would be a real shame if any business paid more rates than it needed to.”

Photographed: Chancellor Of The Exchequer Philip Hammond who listened to Bira’s arguments.

 

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