Little festive cheer for small firms in 46 areas denied business rates lifeline

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the 46 slowest councils in England when it comes to distributing business rates relief to do so before Christmas.

A £300m business rates hardship fund was unveiled by the Chancellor nine months ago, ahead of a revaluation which saw some small firms facing rocketing bills.

Responding to the latest announcement from the Department of Communities and Local Government listing the 46 councils which still haven’t distributed the relief, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, said: “It’s now nine months on from the announcement of emergency relief for those most harmed by April’s business rates revaluation. While some councils got on and distributed that help, others have been slower to take action.

“We are now down to the rump of 46 councils who have yet to lift a finger to help their local businesses. Among them are authorities with some of the largest fund allocations, including Hammersmith & Fulham, Nottingham and Northumberland, who have collectively been guaranteed £7.5 million in urgent support for the five years ahead.

“It’s completely unacceptable that small firms in these areas are being put in jeopardy by this lethargic attitude.

“FSB research shows that one in five small business owners were considering closing or selling their firm as a result of bill hikes. The support promised by the hardship fund could make the difference between business life and death for many in these 46 areas this Christmas.

“Before council offices have their parties and close for the festive break, we call on these 46 local councils to do the right thing and help businesses that are struggling this Christmas. Let’s get the 46 down to zero.”