Election has “waylaid” scheme and consultation response will now wait for new government.
Smaller companies that are facing painful increases in business rates are now set to endure a long delay on a scheme to lessen the financial blow.
As a result of an overdue revaluation of business rates, which are based on the value of commercial property firms occupy, companies in the south of England were facing increases in their bill of several hundred percent.
“For example, a property boom in the Suffolk coastal town of Southwold forced rateable values up by 152%, with some shop owners saying the hike threatened the viability of their businesses,” says The Guardian.
At the Budget last month, Chancellor Philip Hammond promised a three-pronged package of support, including £50-a-month cap on rates increases for small firms and a £1,000-a-year discount for pubs.
On top of this and taking the headlines as a £300m scheme for local authorities to provide discretionary support to under-pressure businesses.
“It was hoped that the support fund would be up and running within weeks,” says the Guardian.
“But although the Department for Communities and Local Government has completed the consultation on how best to implement the scheme, a spokesman confirmed it would now fall to the next government to publish their response.”
The Sun says ministers “have effectively had run out of time” – and that the potential delay could be as long as seven months.
More positively for affected firms, a spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said the money would be backdated to 1 April once the scheme is finally up and running – assuming a new government goes ahead.