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Business rates to support retailers

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Rushmoor Borough Council is supporting businesses.

Business rates schemes to support Rushmoor's retailers and small businesses

Rushmoor Borough Council is supporting two-government initiatives aimed at supporting small businesses and reducing the number of empty shops on the high street.

Fifty per cent business rates discount is to be offered to ratepayers setting up a business in Aldershot or Farnborough and with a rateable value of less than £50,000 as part of re-occupation relief policy. It is hoped that the scheme will encourage new businesses to set up in shop units and retail premises that have been empty for more than 12 months. This relief only applies to businesses taking up empty units.

Businesses likely to have a rateable value of less that £50,000 could include anything from a builders' merchant, through to a café or an independent shop. Providing the premises remains continuously occupied, the discount can be claimed over an 18-month period between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016.

In Rushmoor, there are 85 properties that have been vacant for more than 12 months and that meet the criteria necessary to qualify for the discount. The premises must previously have been used as retail to qualify for the relief.

A second retail relief scheme will provide immediate financial support and a relief of up to £1,000 a year, for two years, to existing and new town centre retailers. This will apply to small and medium businesses with a rateable value of less than £50,000 such as some shops, restaurants and cafes. The premises must be used as retail premises to qualify for the relief.

Councillor Adam Jackman, Cabinet Member for Concessions and Community at Rushmoor Borough Council, said: "We are very supportive of initiatives like these that support our small businesses and our town centre retailers. We know that times are tough and we hope that both schemes will help to attract new businesses to Aldershot and Farnborough and contribute to our town centre regeneration plans, while supporting the local economy. More than 300 local businesses have taken up a discount so far and we would encourage others to get in touch."

Guidance suggests that the council will be reimbursed for the rate relief it awards by way of a direct grant from the government.

Further information about both schemes is available by contacting the council's business rates billing and collection team on 01252 398331.

July 2014