Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, is reportedly considering proposals to give business rate relief to the UK’s smallest businesses that are preparing rate increases of up to 400% from April.
Mr Javid is weighing up the possibility of recommending to ministers an £150m ‘retail relief scheme’ to give almost 100,000 small traders discounts worth up to £1,500.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has already received significant criticism from the small business community for the business rates increase, particularly from Conservative MPs in the South East of England.
Mr Javid’s ‘retail relief scheme’ would be identical to the scheme adopted in 2013 by former Chancellor, George Osborne, where small firms were given discounts of up to £1,500 on their business rates. Ministers are also reportedly discussing alternative plans to increase the maximum level at which business rate relief applies, giving more companies the ability to benefit from discounts.
Mark Rigby, Chief Executive, CVS, said: “The Secretary of State was clearly in listening mode and it was evident to me that he was acutely aware of the potential impact that the revaluation will bring to some communities and the anger felt by small businesses, particularly the retail and leisure sectors.
“He was clear in his determination to find a meaningful, targeted solution to ease the financial burden for those most in need ahead of the April tax changes.”
The Telegraph is also reporting that Mr Javid is considering scrapping controversial proposals to bar companies from appealing their business rates charges, even when they can accurately prove that they are paying too much.
The UK business rates revaluation is the country’s first in seven years and will lead to business owners paying rates calculated to take into account the significant rise in property prices since 2008.
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Image: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills