Restaurants urged to apply for business rates relief

Restaurants urged to apply for business rates relief

A £300m relief fund set up to help operators hit by rising business rates is now available for local councils to share out, the government has said.

It follows concerns that the distribution of the money would be delayed by several months until after the 8 June general election.

Restaurants can apply for funding through their local authority, while pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will also get a £1,000 discount on their business rates bill.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “It’s going ahead, exactly as planned. Councils are free to start using the scheme and helping local businesses.”

Business rates have been reassessed for the first time in seven years to bring them in to line with property values. The changes came in to force on 1 April and have left some operators facing huge rises in bills.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) said restaurants and pubs were suffering ‘disproportionately’ under the new system.

“We urge any of our members struggling with their rates bills to contact their local authorities to explore how to apply for relief payments,” said ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls.

“However, this relief is fire-fighting and the business rates system needs more fundamental reform. We strongly urge the post-election administration to honour the present Government’s commitment to a wider, wholesale reform of the business rates system, to level the playing field across industries, eradicating anomalies such as the hugely reduced share paid by online retailers.”

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