Yorkshire businesses to benefit from £300m rates relief fund

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Sarah Finnemore

The region’s businesses – which have been affected by a recent hike in rates – are welcoming the news that they can access a £300m relief fund designed to act as a financial safety net.

The June 8 snap election announcement had sparked fears that the fund – which  was publicised in the 2017 Spring Budget and was set to be released to local authorities – would face delays and  hold up vital rate rebate payments.

Following a government U turn last week, local authorities across Yorkshire are being encouraged to ensure the relief scheme is up and running to enable them to help relieve the pressure on local businesses.

Sarah Finnemore, solicitor with hlw Keeble Hawson, said: “April’s 2017 Ratings List had revalued all premises subject to business rates to reflect changes in the property market. Many companies will already have received their new bills and the increase in the rateable value of their property may mean significantly increased costs.

“The revaluation should have taken place in 2015, but was postponed to 2017 to avoid a clash with the last general election – meaning that many properties have not been revalued for seven years. It is this gap that has caused the potentially huge uplift in the rateable value of some commercial premises.”

The government’s Spring Budget revealed that a £300m relief fund would be made available to local authorities to help support small businesses that have been hardest hit by the increases.