The Council’s 19th March Cabinet is to consider the implementation of a Government scheme to offer rate relief to the retail sector in Test Valley.
The scheme could see the award of up to £1,000 of rate relief to retailers in premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000.
In addition, retailers who move into premises which have been empty for a year could qualify for 50 per cent rate relief for up to 18 months. Cabinet will consider the implementation of this rate relief scheme in Test Valley when Government guidance is received.
These schemes could benefit over 600 business rate payers in the borough with as much as £800,000 of relief being awarded.
These schemes are aimed at shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments and will run for the next two years. Retail rate relief is being introduced in recognition of the changing face of the high street with the growth of internet shopping and the need to adapt to changing consumer shopping habits. The Government scheme dovetails with the various initiatives the Council has been implementing to encourage footfall through its independent retailer grants, business incentive grants and Andover Summit and Romsey Future projects.
This scheme is in addition to the recently announced Business Rate Flooding Relief scheme for those businesses in Environment Agency flood warning areas that may have been flooded.
The details of these schemes and others are set out in a revised version of the Council’s discretionary rate relief policy to be presented to Cabinet.
Councillor Peter Giddings, Economic Portfolio Holder, said: “I welcome the Government’s scheme to provide some rate relief to retailers. The Council has also introduced schemes to encourage retailers into our town centres. These moves both nationally and locally show the efforts being made to assist retailers generally and help those whose businesses have been affected by recent flooding. I look forward to presenting the revised discretionary rate relief policy to my Cabinet colleagues.”
If the policy is approved by Cabinet business rate payers will need to apply via a simple application form which will be available on the Council’s website.
The businesses covered by the Government scheme are those being used for the sale of goods, services or food and drink to visiting members of the public. However, the scheme does not cover financial services such as banks and building societies, medical and veterinary practices or professional services like solicitors, insurance and accountants.