Confusion surrounds rates relief process leaving pubs in limbo

By Liam Coleman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Delayed relief: the chancellor pledged the discounts in March's Budget
Delayed relief: the chancellor pledged the discounts in March's Budget

Related tags: Local authorities, Local government

Pubs have been left in limbo after local authorities say they are still waiting for guidance from the Government on how to implement the £1,000 business rates discount promised in the spring Budget.

Almost three months on from the chancellor’s pledge​ in March, and two months on from the new rateable values taking effect in April, local authorities claim they have not yet been able to issue the discount to pubs.

A statement from the east London borough of Tower Hamlets said the council was unable to allocate funds to eligible pubs as it was still waiting for the Government to “confirm the funding regulations”.

Darlington Borough Council said that due to the wait for “further guidance”, it expected the uncertainty to continue until after June’s general election.

Discretionary powers

In March, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) urged​ local authorities to “use their discretionary relief powers” to grant pubs the discounts immediately.

But there is no guarantee that the discounts granted to pubs will be passed on to local authorities until the DCLG issues the local authorities with information on claiming back the funds.

Relief mix up

The uncertainty over when discount payments will be made is also affecting the 2,959 pubs and almost 25,000 businesses that have lost all or part of their small business rates relief since April’s revaluation, according to business rates analysts CVS.

Research by CVS shows that 1,552 firms overall have gone from paying no business rates at all to paying normal rates, which equates to completely losing their relief.

CVS data also shows that 21,751 businesses across all sectors have lost their tapered relief and 1,683 firms have gone from no rates to the new thresholds for tapered relief. 

A spokesperson for the DCLG said that the delayed relief and disocunts would still be implemented. "We’re working with local authorities and trade bodies on the details of implementing this additional support and hope to issue guidance shortly," they said.

Related topics: Property law, Legislation

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