Today I received a letter from Communities Minister, Marcus Jones, about three government schemes to help businesses struggling with business rates. Havering received £989 000 from the government's Discretionary Rate Relief fund to help hard-pressed businesses in our local area after the Spring Budget, and has begun the process of rebilling all businesses eligible for support.
The Minister is encouraging local businesses to contact Havering directly if they believe that they are not receiving the support that they are due. I paste his letter below which contains all the relevant details.
IMPLEMENTATION OF BUSINESS RATE RELIEF SCHEMES
At the spring Budget, my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor announced a £435 million package of support for ratepayers over the next four years following the 2017 business rate revaluation. It comprised three schemes: one that caps the annual bill increase for any ratepayer losing Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the revaluation to £600; a second that provides a £300 million Discretionary fund for local authorities to distribute over four years to help hard-pressed businesses facing higher rates bills; and a third that gives a £1,000 discount to all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000.
I wrote to all local authorities on 14 September urging them to make rapid progress in implementing the reliefs and rebilling eligible businesses. I also notified them of my intention to publish a list of authorities that have rebilled under each of the schemes.
This list is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-relief-schemes-2017-rebilling-progress
Good progress has been made and over two thirds of all authorities have indicated that they have started to rebill eligible businesses under all three schemes. I am grateful for the good work that has been undertaken in providing this relief to local businesses. However, implementation remains patchy and the pace of progress specifically in regards the locally determined £300 million Discretionary scheme is slower than expected in some areas.
I understand that Havering Council have begun rebilling all three schemes announced at Spring Budget. I would like to express my gratitude to elected members and officials for making strong progress. However, I am keen to ensure all available relief has reached eligible businesses. This includes where a council has begun rebilling under a scheme but may not have rebilled all eligible businesses, or where in some areas businesses may not be aware that they need to apply for the schemes.
Havering was allocated £989000 under the £300 million Discretionary fund to provide support to their local businesses this year. However, the design of the fund means any unspent monies will be returned to central government and, as a result, local businesses may miss out. I am keen to ensure that all eligible businesses are receiving the support due. As such, it is imperative that support is quickly provided to eligible businesses. I would therefore be grateful if you could help to ensure that the support is maximised in your area by encouraging local businesses to contact Havering directly.
I would like to thank you for your cooperation and assistance in getting this relief out to eligible businesses in your constituency.
MARCUS JONES MP