Storms Desmond and Eva: what business rate relief is available?
There have been numerous stories in the media about what help is available to both local authorities, home owners and businesses in the wake of Storms Desmond and Eva.
The Government has now clarified a range of schemes available to eligible LAs to help them design their own locally tailored support packages for households and businesses.
There are more than half a dozen schemes available for LAs to apply for – to aid their own recovery as well as businesses and – but I thought it worth a few paragraphs to highlight the much-mentioned Business Rate Relief Scheme. In terms of eligibility, the Government will fund relief in the following circumstances:
- The funding is for the impact of flooding from Storm Desmond or Storm Eva and not, for instance, from the failure of a water main, internal water systems or the failure of a sewerage system (unless the failure was itself caused by the adverse weather conditions).
It offers 100% rate relief for a minimum of three months, or until the business restarts trading from the property if longer; up to state aid de minimis levels, for those hereditaments which meet the following criteria:
- For any day: the hereditament has been flooded in whole or in part as a result of adverse weather conditions, and on that day, as a result of the flooding at the hereditament, the business activity undertaken at the hereditament was adversely affected, and on the Rateable Value of the hereditament on that day was less than £10 million.
It may only be a drop in the ocean for some businesses which were affected by the floods, for others it could well be a financial lifeline that means they can take a little breathing space as they recover. Either way the North West business community should be grabbing every penny it can from central Government with the support from their LAs.
We have read a lot in the media and from MPs on the subject of appealing against unfair business rates but the touchy topic has now reared its head...
In 2016, I commented on the government’s proposals to introduce discretion into the appeal process, with appeals being refused if the reduction in assessment determined was not big enough.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced a handful of relief schemes for those hardest hit by increases in liability resulting from the 2017 Rating Revaluation.