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Almost 1,000 small retail businesses to benefit from rates cut

Published on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Calculator and money

NEARLY 1,000 small businesses across Leicester are to get a discount in their business rates under a new scheme set to come into effect next month.

The new two-year Retail Discount Scheme is being launched to help small business such as shops, bars and restaurants, as well as those offering services like hair and beauty treatments, repairs, travel agents, launderettes and photo processing.

The move is designed to help local businesses to thrive by discounting the rates they pay by one-third. On average, eligible businesses will save £2,575 each under the scheme, which comes into effect on April 1.

In Leicester, 932 ratepayers with business premises in the city are expected to benefit from the scheme, saving them a total of £2.4million. The majority of eligible businesses will automatically receive the discount without having to apply for it, although businesses with multiple properties will need to apply to ensure the discount doesn’t exceed European state aid limits.

Leicester City Council collects business rates on behalf of the Government, and is allowed to keep a percentage of the value of rates collected.

Under the new scheme, the Government will refund the city council for the loss in income.

The move will support the goals of City Mayor Peter Soulsby’s economic action plan 2016-2020, part of which focuses on creating a thriving retail core to the city and supporting local neighbourhood centres.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Retail businesses support not just our city centre but are at the heart of local communities across Leicester, and it is vital that we are able to support them as much as possible to ensure they can compete and thrive in the current economic climate.

“A good deal of investment has been made already to enhance what we can do to make the city a good place to do business and to ensure there is good offer for residents and visitors alike.

“By bringing in the Retail Discount Scheme in Leicester, we are slashing by a third the level of business rates that eligible small firms will pay, which for some could be key to ensuring they are able to survive.

“With the Government meeting the cost of the rate relief from its own funds, we can continue to reinvest the money in the city while ensuring businesses get the benefit of discounted rates.”

In 2019-20, the city council has £114million to collect in business rates, taking into account the £2.4million reduction from the Retail Discount Scheme.

In order to be eligible for the discount, businesses will have a rateable value of less than £51,000 in 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Some types are businesses are not eligible for the Retail Discount Scheme – including financial, professional, medical or other related services, along with leisure venues like cinemas, nightclubs, sports centres and any other businesses not accessible to all members of the public.

The city council will be involved in determining in each case whether a business can be granted the rate relief, under local government finance legislation.

More details on the scheme will be available from www.leicester.gov.uk/businessrates

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