Local Businesses Urged To Claim Rates Rebate

Hounslow Council will not be making automatic deductions

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Up 500 local shops, pubs and restaurants in the Hounslow Borough could see their tax bills cut by a third because of tax cuts for small businesses, taking effect this week.

But some local traders have complained because Hounslow Council is not deducting the rebate at source but has issued claims forms. One Chiswick trader urged people to check up on their entitlements- businesses can claim £1.000 on their business rates if the rateable value is less than £50,000.

He said businesses in some areas, including Brighton were automatically given the deduction in their bill and it seemed unfair that Hounslow could not do the same as they had all the relevant details.

"Surely it would be easier and more efficient to do this at source rather than deal with hundreds of claims forms?"

A Hounslow Council spokesman said: “We send an application to all potentially qualifying business rate account holders. As not all retail premises will qualify, it’s impractical to automatically adjust accounts to incorporate the retail rate relief as we don’t hold all the information which determines if they are eligible.

“All the costs of this relief will be met by central government, who will check on awards, so it’s important we only pay qualifying businesses.

“Put simply the award is too complex to implement without reference to the account holder.”

The budget measure has been welcomed by local MP Mary Macleod who said it would support high streets in Chiswick, Brentford and Hounslow, boosting jobs and growth.

Measures taking effect include:

* £1,000 off business rate bills for all retail premises with a rateable value up to £50,000 for 2014/15 and 2015/16. This includes shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
* A 2 per cent cap on everyone’s business rate increases.
* A new reoccupation relief, which will halve the rates bills of businesses taking over premises empty for over a year.
* The doubling of Small Business Rate Relief is being extended to April 2015 and expanded – with 360,000 businesses properties paying no rates at all.
* Businesses will be able to pay their bills over 12 months, rather than 10, to help them with their cash flow.

Mary commented: “The help for the high street coming in this week is excellent news for hardworking people and small businesses in Chiswick, Brentford and Hounslow. In my role as the Prime Minister’s Small Business Ambassador for London, I speak to small firms regularly about business rates and met with the Prime Minister at the end of last year to discuss their concerns. Many small businesses, particularly those on our high streets, are feeling the strain of business rates and these changes will help to relieve some of the pressure on them.”

“This week we have also announced that the second Small Business Saturday will take place on 6th December. Small Business Saturday is a cross-party initiative supported by the Prime Minister that celebrates our small businesses on the day and beyond. We are determined to do all we can to help small businesses so they continue to thrive and contribute to the growth of the UK economy."

April 4, 2014