November 26, 2010

New bill scraps rate relief application forms

by Jan Harris

As part of the upcoming Localism and Decentralisation Bill, local government secretary Eric Pickles has announced that small businesses will receive rate relief automatically, eliminating the need for them to fill in an application form.

In line with the government pledge to cut red tape, all businesses will have their rates calculated with the small business multiplier as a matter of course to make sure they are receiving the tax cuts they are entitled too.

The rules will be changed to give local councils the power to administer the scheme, which will be welcome news to small businesses as rates typically represent their third largest cost.

Currently small businesses in England can claim small business rate relief if they occupy a sole property with a rateable value of less than £25,500 in London and £18,000 elsewhere.

The rate relief gives them a discount of 0.7p against the uniform business rate of 41.4p.

The move has been welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses which has been calling for the measure to be introduced.

The Localism and Decentralisation Bill is due to be published around December 6.

Eric Pickles is also in the news today for accusing the Local Government Association of scaremongering by predicting that 140,000 local government jobs will be lost next year, rather than 100,000 as previously forecast.

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