Sweet relief: City in line for nearly £10m to help with business rates hike

 
Helen Cahill
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Businesses in the City are facing some of the highest rate rises (Source: Getty)

The government has given the go-ahead for business rates relief totaling nearly £10m for the City of London.

London has been hardest hit by the recent revaluation of business rates, and will therefore receive more than £124m of the total £300m allocated as business rates relief for councils. The chancellor first announced the funding in his Spring Budget.

Out of all the London boroughs, the City is in line for the third largest pay-out. Businesses can expect £9.5m in total over the next four years, with £5.5m arriving in this tax year.

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Rises in business rates are linked to rent increases in the city. As the UK's commercial property taxes have not been revaluated for seven years, and rents have jumped over the intervening period, areas such as the City have been hit particularly hard by this year's tax changes. Businesses in the capital will pay more than £40bn in business rates over the next five years, according to property consultancy Gerald Eve.

Westminster and Camden will be given the most relief from the government, with ratepayers collecting £19.9m and £9.7m in relief respectively over the four-year period until the next rate revaluation.

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"London has had the roughest ride of any region from the 2017 revaluation, with rates bills increasing way above the average. It is only appropriate that the greatest share of this fund should be allocated to London councils," said Jerry Schurder, head of business rates at Gerald Eve.

"Despite Government claims that there will be no delay because of the General Election, ratepayers across London face continuing uncertainty as local authorities still have to design their own criteria for the award of relief."

The first instalment of business rates has already been collected from businesses, so councils are being encouraged to distribute the relief as soon as possible. A DCLG spokesperson said councils will establish their own schemes to hand out the funds, and can claim the money from DCLG as soon as their systems are in place.

Mark Rigby, chief executive of business rates specialists CVS, said: "I am heartened that the department for communities and local government have sought to clarify their stance over this important and much needed initiative and I would now urge councils across London to expedite the distribution of this relief to those firms hardest hit by the revaluation."

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