Sheila Coburn, the Head of Revenues and Benefits Shared Service,
presented her report relating to the Business Rates Discretionary
Rate Relief Scheme and the level of Business Rates Discretionary
Rate Relief to be awarded to certain defined rate payers within the
Borough for 2018/19, 2019/2020 and 2020/21.
·In March 2017, Central Government announced that it
would make available a £300m discretionary fund over four
years to help Councils support those businesses in their area
facing the steepest increases in their Business Rates bill as a
result of the 2017 revaluation. It was
left to Councils to determine how the fund should be targeted and
administered to support those businesses within their area that
were in the greatest need.
·The Policy and Resources Committee, at its meeting
held on 20 September 2017, gave delegated authority to the Head of
Revenues and Benefits to finalise and implement the agreed scheme
·The funding available for 2017/18 was £287k
and the scheme awarded 80% relief of the increase in Business Rates
to businesses with a rateable value less than
£100k. The number of businesses
that benefitted from the funding was 271 which was more than it was
originally thought would qualify.
However, the amount of relief that was awarded was £175k
because the increases as a result of the 2017 revaluation were not
as significant as the Government had anticipated.
·The funding for 2018/19 and subsequent years of the
scheme would reduce considerably: 2018/19 (£140k), 2019/20
(£57k), and 2020/21 (£8k).
It was proposed that relief for 2018/19 and the subsequent two
years of the scheme be awarded on a percentage basis to those
businesses that qualified in 2017/18 without applications having to
be made to avoid delays (Option 2).
response to questions, Mrs Coburn explained that:
·Relief was available to businesses that were in
occupation of the premises as at 31 March 2017 and remained in
continuous occupation. The policy
approved by the Policy and Resources Committee in September 2017
related to the distribution of funding in 2017/18 only because of
uncertainty at that time about the number of businesses
affected. In 2017/18, the scheme
awarded 80% relief of the increase in Business Rates to businesses
meeting the criteria. In 2018/19, this
would reduce to approximately 50%.
·The Council consulted with the major preceptors in
2017/18 in relation to the proposed funding of the scheme, and they
·The scheme was discretionary; there was no
requirement for the Council to operate the scheme. Any unspent funding would need to be returned to
That delegated authority be given to the Head of Revenues and
Benefits Shared Service to distribute the funding made available by
Central Government to support those businesses facing the steepest
increases in their Business Rates bill as a result of the 2017
revaluation as set out in Option 2 (paragraph 2.2 of the report)
for 2018/19 and the subsequent two years of the scheme.