New Scheme to cut rates by 80% for South Shield Shops

King Street in South Shields has seen a number of big-name casualties such as Marks and Spenser and Mothercare.

A combination of online shopping, out-of-town retail centres and high business rates are being blamed for reason they are struggling.

Rochdale council has now taken action to revitalise its local retail sector by moving businesses into empty shops and offering an 80 per cent discount on their business rates for the first year followed by a 50 per cent cut the following year.

The Chancellor boosted businesses everywhere when he made an announcement on rates during his recent Autumn Statement.

Although the rate has not been frozen, small businesses have seen the amount of discounts they are entitled to, to rise 50 per cent to £1,500, which is seen as a boost to many small independent shops.

Ideas to be put forward for rates reform

A government minister has called on independent retailers to put forward their ideas as to how business rates should be reformed.

David Gauke MP, financial secretary to the Treasury, said “We are in the market for ideas on the future of business rates and I welcome the contribution of small shops to the review.”

His call came after Chancellor George Osborne revealed in his Autumn Statement there would be a full review of the structure of business rates. He also mentioned short-term relief measures including a continued cap of 2% on rates increases, a £1,500 discount for retail properties, and an extension of the doubling of Small Business Rates Relief.

The moves were immediately welcomes by the Association of Convenience Stores, which pledged to play a full part in the review over the coming months.

Telford firms could fold over business rates blunder

Businesses in Telford could be forced to shut up shop after being told they owe thousands of pounds in unpaid rates due to a mistake by the valuations office.

Traders in Madeley were handed letters by the Valuation Office saying they owe up to £5,600 each.

They were given temporary reductions in their business rates to help them during building work in the town in 2010 – but they have continued to receive the reduction despite work finishing four years and eight months ago.

The Valuations Office said the error had “only just come to light”.

SPE Fashion has been told it must pay £3,579.52 in three instalments starting in January. The firm’s rates will now rise from £7,200 to £8,400 now that the allowance has been removed.

Telford & Wrekin Council Spokeswoman Emily Knightley said: “We would encourage any business who find themselves in this situation to get in touch with us.”

Pubs grateful for tax relief help

Pubs around the Hinckley and District branch of Camra have welcomed a reduction in business rates announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

The extension of rate relief and a rate reduction of £500 for most pubs in the country will be great news for most pub goers.

The burden of business rates add considerably to the cost of running a pub as well as the cost of a pint of beer. The reduced business rate of £1,500 may help some pubs to stay open or develop.

Camra member licensee Gary Bushwell of The Lime Kilns in Burbage said: “it’s good news for us as the increase in discount will cover the increase in rates, which is expected to be at 2% for the next year and will give us scope to take on staff.

“However, the whole rating system still needs to be addressed to remove anomalies between small and big addresses.”

Camra head of communications To Stainer said: “With 31 pubs closing every week, the Chancellor’s extension of small business rate relief and an additional £500 business rates reduction for most pubs in England is great news for pub goers.

Posted on: 05/01/2015