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North West need to grab fair share of £300m business rates aid

Despite some scaremongering in the national media, the Department for Communities and Local Government has announced the allocation for the £300m package promised in the Spring Budget to ease pressure on small businesses hit hardest by the business rates revaluation.

There were some reports last week that the fund had been pushed back until after the snap General Election but that now seems to have been more fantastical than fact. DCLG has told councils that they can access the funds as soon as they have a scheme in place for distributing the money. The early bird it seems will catch the £300m worm.

The fund will allow businesses coming out of Small Business Rate Relief to benefit from an additional cap, and should mean that no small business losing rate relief would see their bill increase next year by more than £50 a month. The announcement of the distribution comes pretty quickly after a short consultation and is now published on the DCLG’s website.

Back in the Spring Budget, chancellor Phillip Hammond said he had “listened to the concerns raised by colleagues and businesses,” about the changes to business rates and was bringing in the changes to support businesses which were set to be hit the hardest.

I suspect £300m will have to be spread pretty thin if it is to cushion the blow for the majority not minority of those affected. Let’s hope our Northern LA’s can get their act together quickly and announce their schemes before the fund is swallowed up by London businesses which, up to now, have been very adroit at stating their business rate woes.

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