Minister puts pressure on local authorities over rate relief

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Marcus Jones: Pace is "not acceptable"
Marcus Jones: Pace is "not acceptable"

Related tags: Local authorities, Local government, Business

Local authorities have come under pressure to provide rate relief to pubs after the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Communities and Local Government and ex-pubs minister Marcus Jones said the pace had “not been acceptable”.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week he said he had written to local authorities that had not fully implemented three rate relief schemes, including one that covers the pub sector, asking them to rebill businesses.

He said: “From Tuesday 3 October, I will publish a list of those authorities that have notified us they have rebilled for each of the three relief schemes.”

The relief scheme for pubs gives a £1,000 discount to all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000. 

There has been concern about the delay in local authorities sending out information and granting the relief.

Research from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), published last month, showed that pubs were still waiting for business relief payments worth up to £25m. Out of 25 local authorities in England, which account for 20% of the payments promised by the Government, the study revealed 22 had not yet developed a scheme to distribute any discretionary relief. 

Jones said the Government expected local authorities to make “rapid progress” in helping business by implementing these relief schemes.

“Overall, however, despite various examples of good practice, the pace of providing relief to ratepayers has not been acceptable,” he said.

“I have written today to those authorities that have not fully implemented all three schemes asking them to rebill businesses set to benefit from relief as soon as possible.”

He said some local authorities had made “significant progress” towards implementation 

He highlighted the London Borough of Westminster, which has already rebilled eligible businesses under the pubs and supporting small business schemes.

He also pointed out that Leeds City Council had provided over £1.5 million in relief to more than 3,600 ratepayers, including 50% discounts on bill increases to 3,300 small and medium-sized ratepayers under their discretionary scheme.

 

 

 

Related topics: Legislation

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