Traders urged to take advantage of £1,000 rates relief

Sudbury town centre.

Sudbury town centre. - Credit: Archant

Shopkeepers in the Babergh, Ipswich and Mid Suffolk council areas are being encouraged to apply for a £1,000 rate rebate from the Government.

Some independent traders in Sudbury and Hadleigh have been pushing for changes to the current business rating system, which they say is inequitable because it favours out-of-town supermarkets.

While there are no planned amendments to the current system, the Government acknowledges that the retail sector is changing – particularly due to internet shopping – and that many high streets are experiencing challenges as they adapt to these changes.

So a scheme has been introduced where eligible businesses can apply to their local district or borough council for up to £1,000 off their rates bill, which will then be reimbursed by the Government.

Derrick Haley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council and chairman of the three councils’ Shared Revenue Partnership said: “Retail relief provides relief of up to £1,000 to all qualifying occupied retail properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less in each of the years 2014-15 and 2015-16.

“The idea is to support local retail businesses by providing retail rate relief to help them thrive and adapt to the changing way in which consumers shop, and to support this type of retailer in the current economic climate.”

Since April, Babergh, Mid Suffolk and Ipswich have undertaken a number of campaigns to promote the availability of retail relief.

Most Read

Babergh’s lead member for economic development, Simon Barrett, is keen to ensure that all entitled business owners take advantage of the scheme.

He said: “Retail relief is available to all retail operations, excluding things like financial services, estate agents or solicitors that have high street premises.

“The shared revenue partnership has been sending people out to talk to business owners because many of them don’t realise they can claim.

“In Sudbury in particular, a lot of the independent retailers have been up in arms about the issue of high and unfair business rates so we want to make sure they are aware they could qualify for this reduction.

“It is a central Government initiative so it will not affect local council budgets.”

For more information on how to apply for retail relief, visit any of the councils’ websites and search for ‘retail relief’. You can then download an application form.