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Automatic rate reduction for thousands of businesses will boost Tower Hamlets’ economy

Thousands of small to medium sized businesses are set to see an automatic reduction in their business rate bills this year, under exceptional council plans to boost the borough’s economy.

Cabinet’s decision to agree the Business Rates Relief scheme will automatically put more than £8 million back into the coffers of local business rate payers over the next four years.

Business rates are a tax on properties such as shops, factories and offices that are not used for domestic purposes.

In March this year, the government announced a £300 million fund to support businesses facing the steepest increase in their business rates, as a result of revaluation – an estimate of what the property could be let for on the open market.

Tower Hamlets has been allocated £8.184 million over four years – the fifth largest amount nationally.

All local authorities have been given the freedom to direct the funding where it is most needed to support their local economies.

This year, 2,616 local business rate payers will receive awards totaling £4,654,709.

While many local authorities ask rate payers to apply for a rebate, Tower Hamlets will apply the relief automatically where businesses meet eligibility criteria.

Mayor John Biggs said: “Our approach to awarding revaluation support has immense advantages for businesses who will not need to go through a complex application process to receive Business Rate Relief.

Designing the scheme in this way means that bureaucracy will be minimised and a maximum number of small and medium sized businesses will benefit. This in turn will help provide a much needed boost to our local economy.”

Qualifying local businesses will be re-billed straightaway.

The decision follows a consultation in October, with businesses and residents.

As a result of feedback from respondents, business premises operating as payday lenders, betting shops, unoccupied properties, public sector and housing association properties have been excluded from the scheme.

Cllr David Edgar, Cabinet member for resources said: “Our Business Rates Relief scheme takes account of the views of business owners and residents who took part in the consultation.

“The rebates, which are automatically awarded to eligible ratepayers, will cover 80 per cent of the increases faced by small and medium sized businesses in 2017-18 as a result of revaluation.”

If your business has not been re-billed and you believe you may be eligible for a rebate, contact business.rates@towerhamlets.gov.uk

– Press realise

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