Figures being published today show how the country’s ‘small business capitals’ are benefiting from dedicated double tax breaks, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced today.
The latest figures reveal the number and share of small firms and shops, for every area of the country, that received a rate reprieve in 2010-11. Local areas from all parts of the country are getting additional help, worth on average £670 for each qualifying firm, with the average total cost of relief now £1340. Around 330,000 will pay no rates at all over this period as a result of the extension of the Government’s discount scheme.
The figures show that coastal areas are often England’s small business capitals and are some of the biggest beneficiaries due to their high concentration of small firms and shops. For example, in Cornwall over 10,000 business properties are receiving discounts; with 3,000 in Bournemouth; while Suffolk Coast, North Norfolk, Poole, Southend, South Lakeland, Blackpool and Scarborough are helping over 2000 properties each.
The area with the highest concentration of small businesses is Tendring where six out of every ten firms are getting a rate reprieve. All parts of the country are getting help - nearly 6,000 small firms in Bradford are getting the discount; nearly 5,000 in Durham, 2,000 in Harrogate; over 1,500 businesses in Enfield; Wakefield nearly 3,500; Shropshire 3,700; Sheffield 4,400; and Kirklees has over 5,000 small businesses getting relief.
Ministers are clear that helping small shops and businesses grow is a crucial part of rebalancing and rebuilding the economy. Small businesses report that business rates are the third biggest outgoing for local firms after rent and staff.
Last autumn the Government announced the doubling of the Small Business Rate Relief discount available for a year. The extension of the scheme is expected to offer an additional £340m worth of help for around half a million business ratepayers in England.
The doubling of the Small Business Rate Relief discount was introduced in October as part of the Government’s commitment to support local enterprise and growth. At Budget it was announced, the extra relief will now continue until the end of September 2012.
Mr Pickles said:
Small shop and firms are at the heart of our communities, and it has never been more important to support them as they help rebuild and re-grow this country’s economy for the future.
These new figures show just how much difference doubling the business rate discount has made to the country’s economic prospects, especially in our ‘small business capitals’ where there are a high proportion of small firms and shops.
Around half a million small firms and local shops on the high street have been given over £340 million worth of financial breathing space with this tax break.
Ministers are determined that small firms shouldn’t lose out on an average £1340 of tax relief. The Localism Bill, currently going through Parliament, aims to encourage take up of tax firms by small businesses by scrapping the legal requirement for ratepayers to fill in an application form.
The Government is also giving councils the power to set local discounts on business rates, provided that they are funded locally, allowing them to support the local firms and shops if they are struggling or encouraging new start-up enterprises.
Notes to editors
Small business rate relief in England has been doubled for two years, from 1 October 2010 to 30 September 2012. Eligible businesses occupying property with a rateable value of up to £6,000 pay no rates for that period, with tapering relief up to a rateable value to £12,000.
The full table can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/documents/newsroom/1786823/19726081.xls
A list of the top 30 local authorities with the highest concentration of small firms and shops can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/documents/newsroom/1786823/1972654.xls
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