£5.6 million rates relief scheme for Camden small businesses proposed

A £5.6 million rates relief scheme, which would help between 5,000 and 7,000 small businesses in Camden, is being proposed by the Council.

It follows lobbying of the Government by the Council and local business leaders following the recent national revaluation.

Camden has secured extra Government money to support some of the small businesses which saw the steepest increases in their rates. The proposed rate relief scheme aims to reduce the local impact of recent business rate increases caused by the revaluation.

Camden businesses operating in premises with a rateable value of below £200,000 would be eligible for rate relief if their rates bill has gone up by £300 or more per year from 2016-17 to 2017-18. The relief would be automatically allocated on a sliding scale to the accounts of eligible business rate payers up to a maximum of £8,000 for the worst affected. It is estimated that more than 7,000 local businesses could benefit.

An alternative option, where businesses would be awarded a percentage reduction on their final business rates, is also being put forward as part of the consultation. It is estimated this option would benefit more than 5,700 businesses - fewer than the preferred option one.

Local businesses and other interested parties have until midnight on Friday 11 August to respond to the consultation, which was launched today (Wednesday 12 July).

Local people are also being asked to say whether they think Camden’s five biggest community schools should be included in the business rates relief scheme, which could cost up to £40,000 from the support fund.

Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive of Camden Town Unlimited, said: “Camden Town Unlimited has been committed to lobbying around the issue of business rates – the recent hike was devastating for many. We were delighted that Camden Council heard our concerns and is proposing to create a rates relief scheme, which could mean the difference between sink and swim for many in our business community. They would be given the chance to flourish, and the borough’s high streets can maintain their unique identity.”

Councillor Theo Blackwell, Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Technology and Growth, said: “We hope this proposed scheme offers some much-needed help next year to offset the worst effects of the recent national business rates revaluation. We will continue to challenge Government to reform the outdated business rates system to help our high streets.”

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