Parliamentary support grows for Small Business Rate Relief Bill
Plans to make small business rate relief automatically available for eligible firms are likely to be included in this year’s Budget, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The Small Business Rate Relief Bill, which proposes automatic rate relief for those eligible, has gained support from more than 100 MPs.
FSB head of parliamentary affairs, Stephen Alambritis, said that the Bill, read in the House of Commons on 6 March, takes it one step closer to being included in this year’s Budget.
“If it doesn’t have full Government support it won’t proceed,” said Alambritis. “However, the Minister for Local Government is likely to say that they will look at it in their Budget submission. If it doesn’t go through initially, all the information is there to make it simple for the Chancellor to adopt it – and otherwise the next Government might implement it.”
According to the Local Government Association, around £400 million of rate relief goes unclaimed each year because businesses are unaware of their entitlement. Eligible small firms could save £1,200 a year by claiming it.
The FSB has called on small businesses to continue putting pressure on their local MPs to pledge their support for the Bill.
“Small firms can write to their MPs to ask them to sign the motion, or get their MP to write to the Minister for Local Government,”
said FSB deputy head of public affairs Holly Lee.
“If the Bill doesn’t go any further, they can still put pressure on the Department of Communities and Local Government which is responsible for it,” she added.
A Department of Communities and Local Government spokesperson was not available to comment on the Bill.
In England, small businesses are generally entitled to rate relief if the rateable value of their premises is less than £15,000 (£21,500 in London).
For more information on claiming in the current system, take a look at Small Business Rate Relief.
You can also download a template letter to send to your MP petitioning them for the introduction of automatic Small Business Rate Relief.