Firms urged to apply for business rate relief
Many businesses in West Oxfordshire will be receiving business rates bills for 2017/18 which see sharp increases from last year.
This is due to the national revaluation of business rates conducted by the Valuation Office Agency.
Due to changes to small business rates relief announced last year many smaller businesses will be protected from these changes with the very smallest of businesses being taken out of rating altogether.
And at the Budget on 8 March, Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled further measures to help offset rises in business rates.
These include a £1,000 discount for qualifying pubs with a rateable value of under £100,000, a scheme to cap increases for small businesses that will lose some or all of their Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief and a £300m discretionary fund to enable authorities to support those facing the steepest increases in business rates.
Rate relief cannot be applied automatically and West Oxfordshire District Council will write to qualifying businesses, encouraging them to apply. Small businesses can apply at any time.
Cllr Toby Morris, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “The rates revaluation may have come as a shock to some small businesses.
“But we are in a rural area and there have been a number of provisions made for certain types of business, so it is important that firms apply for relief.”
Before these latest proposals more than 2,000 businesses were benefiting from small business relief collectively saving themselves around £2.75m a year. The new proposals should extend those savings further to pubs and other businesses particularly affected by the revaluation.
West Oxfordshire District Council is responsible for billing and collection of business rates with the bulk of funds going back to central government to be reallocated to other local authorities both in Oxfordshire and further afield. West Oxfordshire retains just nine per cent of business rates raised to finance its services.