Councils' lack of action on business rates relief slammed by ALMR

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rates relief: ALMR warns not enough is being done to get the money to businesses
Rates relief: ALMR warns not enough is being done to get the money to businesses

Related tags: Local authorities, Liberal democrats, Distribution

Not enough is being done by local authorities to ensure promised rates relief is being distributed to businesses, the Association of Multiple Licensed Retailers (ALMR) has warned.

The warning comes after the publication of a list of local authorities that have notified the Government of their schemes to allocate and distribute business rates reliefs announced in the Budget in March.

Although the majority of authorities have implemented a scheme to distribute rates relief for pubs, the ALMR said it is "concerned that information about these schemes is not filtering through to businesses".

The ALMR is also concerned that discretionary relief for hardest hit businesses is not being allocated, it said.

Promised support

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said it had been warning about the lack of relief flowing through "for some time".

"Although most councils have shown some initiative and taken a proactive approach to pubs relief, the anecdotal evidence we have received from businesses shows that very few are actually receiving the promised support," she said.

“Local authorities may have implemented schemes to distribute pub-specific relief, but we are concerned that far too few businesses are being made aware this support is available.

“Discretionary relief distributed to local authorities to help support those businesses hardest hit is not flowing as freely as it should either.

“That means that in over 100 areas of England, hard-pressed pubs, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and cafés are not receiving the support they deserve from their local authority."

'Be proactive'

Nicholls said local authorities that have implemented pub relief schemes needed to be "proactive" in making pubs aware of it.

Last week, the leader of the Liberal Democrats said the Government had left “thousands of pubs in the lurch”​ as research from the party revealed at least 4,500 pubs eligible for specific business rates relief are still awaiting payment, with a total of £4.54m still outstanding.

The research found four in 10 councils in England haven’t started distributing the pub-specific relief, with many blaming software problems, the absence of clear guidance from the Government and lack of time to put local schemes in place.

Related topics: Legislation

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