Hundreds of local small and medium size businesses are missing out on business rate discounts which they’re entitled to.
The cost of the discounts is paid entirely by national government but unfortunately Conservative-run Guildford council have been useless when it comes to letting local businesses know that they’re eligible for these discounts.
For example, any retail business with a rateable value (e.g. the official estimate market rent) of less than £50,000 a year can get a £1,000 discount on the business rates they have to pay. There are over 900 businesses in the borough eligible for these discounts but only a fraction of them have applied for them.
Another scheme is that small businesses with a rateable value of up to £12,000 can get up to a 100% discount on rates until March 2015 but again, many small businesses don’t know that they can claim this discount.
There are also discounts for empty new build business premises and for businesses moving into premises which have previously been empty.
But since the council hasn’t written to businesses to let them know if they’re eligible for these schemes it will only be a minority of businesses which have applied for them. So a useful government scheme which could be helping small companies in Guildford, particularly on our high street, and creating jobs isn’t working anywhere near as well as it could be because of Guildford council failing to give people information about it.
This, in many ways, is typical of the council – all too quick to chase after you if they think you owe them money but utterly silent when it comes to letting you know how you can get back money you’re entitled to.
Now, as a Liberal Democrat I believe in standing up for small and medium size businesses, not just big business. Because of that I’ll be going round as many local businesses as I can in Onslow to let them know about these schemes.
But it really shouldn’t be me doing this – it should be the council. I think it’s such a shame that the Conservatives aren’t doing more to help local businesses claim the support they’re entitled to.
For more information about any of these schemes and how to apply then please click here.