Shops and pubs to benefit from reduced business rates
- Credit: Sonya Duncan/Antony Kelly
More than 250 shops and pubs in south Norfolk are set to benefit from a scheme allowing businesses to pay reduced rates.
South Norfolk Council's cabinet met on Monday (March 9) morning to discuss recommendations which would see the Business Rates Retail Discount boosted across the region.
It also considered the prospect of re-introducing the Business Rates Pubs Discount, as well as extending the Local Newspaper Discount.
And the cabinet, meeting at the council's headquarters in Long Stratton, agreed to implement a number of enhanced discounts courtesy of funding provided solely by central government.
Alison Thomas, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: "This is a good news story for a number of businesses, pubs and newspapers in the local area.
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"It is a no-brainer. This is fully funded and we welcome the fact that the government has moved swiftly to bring this forward."
Rate relief was traditionally targeted at charities, local sports clubs and not-for-profit organisations, as well as rural businesses such as post offices and food shops.
However, in recent years, the scheme has been broadened to cover any type of business.
In the wake of its election victory in December last year, the Conservative government announced it would enhance the existing Retail Discount scheme and re-introduce a Pubs Discount scheme for 2020/21, in addition to extending relief for local newspapers for the next five years.
The enhanced Retail Discount increases support to eligible businesses from a one-third reduction to 50pc on the net balance for the financial year, and has been extended to include cinemas and live music venues.
Such a discount applies to establishments with a rateable value of less than £51,000, benefitting 246 retail businesses and saving a total of £827,000 in the process.
An estimated 56 pubs will benefit from relief to the value of £52,000, with only one ratepayer qualifying for the Local Newspaper Discount.
Yvonne Bendle, cabinet member for health, housing and wellbeing, added: "I think this is a very sensible and something that is very important to small towns like the one I live in.
"People rely heavily on their local shops so I am very pleased this is carrying on."