The notice, which comes in a detailed ‘Business Rate Information’ letter sent on 20 June, advises councils on many types of reliefs, including the pub-specific one which was announced in the March Budget – which offered pubs with a rateable value of below £100,000 relief of £1,000.
In the letter the DCLG said local authorities are “expected to have begun” implementing the relief schemes.
Extra cost pressures
British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “I am grateful to DCLG for issuing clear guidance that stresses how important it is for councils to ensure that local businesses receive all the rates relief for which they qualify.
“Local authorities now need to get on and deliver these lower bills to businesses.
“For pubs, this is much needed, given the very great extra cost pressures they are facing this year.”
Association of Multiple Licensed Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls agreed, and said the DCLG’s message was “clear and positive”.
“The general election campaign imposed a political vacuum during which many pub and restaurant operators laboured on under the shadow of hugely increased business rates costs, with no sign of when assistance would emerge,” she said.
“Alongside the many other financial and regulatory burdens they face, the situation was becoming critical for many.
“Despite this money having been available since April, too many local authorities faltered when companies were suffering and needed assistance and information”.
Nicholls added that “at long last, direction and a sense of urgency has been provided”.