Rates relief for businesses in West Suffolk

West Suffolk House, Bury St Edmunds, the home of St Edmundsbury Borough Council
West Suffolk House, Bury St Edmunds, the home of St Edmundsbury Borough Council
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Cabinet members are expected to approve the principles of a ‘discretionary’ rate relief scheme for businesses in West Suffolk when they meet next week.

The scheme would see the West Suffolk councils allocate up to £747,000 over four years – £359k in St Edmundsbury and £388k in Forest Heath – to help small businesses worst hit by the revaluation of business properties, which came into effect on April 1.

Eligible businesses with rateable values of less than £200,000 which have experienced rates increases of more than 10 per cent compared to last year would be able to apply for financial relief under the proposal going before St Edmundsbury’s cabinet on Tuesday.

This goes further than the Government guidelines which cap the rates increase at 12.5 per cent, meaning the West Suffolk councils would be able to help 310 businesses, 120 more than if they used the national formula.

Awards of relief would be decided annually, with the qualifying criteria to be reviewed in the last quarter of each year’s scheme and any remaining funds to be made available to businesses experiencing ‘extreme hardship’ as a result of the revaluation.

The scheme was given the green light by Forest Heath last week.