Councils Approving Business Rates Relief For Flood Victims

Councils across the country are gradually agreeing to help businesses in their areas recover from the recent flooding by offering them relief on their business rates.

Many local authorities are taking up the Government-funded Business Rates Flooding Relief Scheme, which will fund 100 per cent rate relief for three months for properties meeting certain flooding criteria.

They are also offering help under the Business Support Scheme, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses affected by the floods, which have suffered significant loss of trade.

The funds can be used to meet clean up costs, temporary accommodation and business continuity planning and marketing costs. Each council can determine the level of help to be given on a case-by-case basis.

In Uttlesford District Council, for example, it was agreed recently that retail properties with rateable values of £50,000 or less will receive a £1,000 business rates discount for 2014-15. This will apply to most pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops.

Meanwhile, occupiers of retail properties will get a 50 per cent cut on their rates for 18 months if they move into premises that have been empty for a year or more, between April 1 this year and March 31, 2016.

Businesses that have been affected by the flooding should therefore contact their local council to see whether the proposal to implement the Business Rates Flooding Relief Scheme has been passed.

Separately, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has said this week that the Government is exploring whether there is a case for the ‘Flood Re’ scheme for householders to be extended to businesses.

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