According to a government spokesperson, the introduction of the new £300m business rates support fund has been put on hold because of the snap general election.
The support fund, which was announced in the Spring Budget in March this year, was set up to help thousands of small businesses hit by the April 1 revaluation of business rates.
These small businesses had hoped the relief package would be up and running within a few weeks of announcements made before the new tax year, but the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has confirmed that the fund will be delayed until after the upcoming general election on 8 June 2017.
The delay is despite the DCLG having held the public consultation on the scheme’s implementation between March-April.
Commenting on the delay, Mark Rigby, Chief Executive of business rent and rates specialists CVS, said: “The relief fund was negotiated and designed to help those shouldering the biggest increases through the revaluation. For the distribution of that relief to now be delayed is an unhappy consequence of the General Election and will cause grave concern to small businesses already worried about the burden they are facing.”
Commercial properties are normally revalued every five years; however, the latest revaluation in March 2017 was delayed by two years because of the economic downturn. The last revaluation, which happened in 2010, was based on property values from 2008. This explains why some businesses have seen a sharp rise in their business rates this year.
According to CVS, the mean rateable value of shops in England and Wales increased by 8.5% at the beginning of April 2017, but the value of commercial property in Southwold, Blaenavon, Dolwyddelan, Port Isaac, Rhymney, Kenley and Corwen increased by more than 100%.
Mark Rigby has urged councils to “show restraint” and desist from forcing business rate bills against the recipients of the rate relief package during this period of delay.
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