Against a background of shop closures and empty premises comes news that up to 800 retailers across Bath and North East Somerset are being invited to apply for a discretionary discount to their business rate bills which could see them cut by a third.
The Government announced in its Autumn Budget that over the next two financial years, 2019/20 and 2020/21, retail premises with a rateable value of £51,000 or less could be awarded a discount of up to one third of their bill.
Business rates are set by central government and the income is collected by local authorities. Bath & North East Somerset Council has now sent application forms to businesses which it thinks qualify for the discount. To qualify the business premises must be occupied and be wholly or mainly used to sell goods, services or food and drink to members of the public. Examples include: shops, opticians, hair dressers, post offices, garden centres, markets, petrol stations, restaurants and bars.
Councillor Paul Myers, cabinet member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “Business rates remain one of the biggest fixed costs for many retailers and this discount is designed to help them at a time when trading conditions are difficult. We want to see our High Streets, town centres and villages thrive and I’d urge eligible retailers to apply.”
The awards are discretionary and will be assessed by the council on a case by case basis. Premises which are not reasonably accessible to members of the public, or those which are not mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not be eligible for the discount.
The amount of discount awarded will be one third of the net Business Rate bill. This means the total amount granted will vary depending on the rateable value of the property. There is no discount for premises with a rateable value of more than £51,000.00. The council will assess eligibility and calculate the total award of the discount to the net Business Rates bill after applying any other relief. Business rate payers who occupy more than one property will be entitled to discounts on each of their eligible properties subject to the State Aid De Minimis limits.
To apply visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/business-rate-retail-discount download and complete the Retail Discount Application Form and email it to email@example.com
For more information visit: www.gov.uk
The problems in Bath’s central retail zone began some years ago, and have much to do with rents, not just business rates. Anyway, better very, very late than never.
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