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Support to ease burden of business rates hike

Small businesses struggling to survive following an increase in business rates are set to benefit after councillors approved a new government-funded scheme.

At a Fenland District Council Cabinet meeting on Thursday (July 13), members agreed a £160,000 discretionary rate relief fund for 2017/2018 to ease the burden of the government's business rates revaluation in April.

It means around 110 small businesses, whose 2017/2018 business rates bill increased by 10% or more, will now be eligible to receive a rate relief.

The council received the £160,000 grant from a £300 million funding pot that the government made available over four years to support businesses facing the steepest increases in business rates bills as a result of the revaluation.

The authority expects to receive a further £78,000 for the fund in 2018/2019, £32,000 for 2019/2020 and £5,000 for 2020/2021.

To be eligible for the scheme, businesses properties must have a rateable value of £200,000 or less, and the increase in rates for 2017/2018 must have been greater than 10% compared with 2016/2017.

The 10% relief will apply to the 2017/2018 rates bill, with relief automatically granted in subsequent years without the need for a further application.

Under the scheme, eligible businesses stand to save between under £100 to £13,999 a year, with the majority of affected business saving £300-£499.

Councillor Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: "The rate relief funding is good news for Fenland as it will ensure small businesses get the most help with their rates. Our new discretionary rate relief scheme will also ensure we get this funding to the most affected businesses as quickly and as fairly as possible."

For more information visit www.fenland.gov.uk/businessrates, email: nndr@angliarevenues.gov.uk or contact 01842 756568. You can also visit one of the Fenland @ Your Service shops in March, Wisbech and Whittlesey or the Community Hub in Chatteris.