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FSB welcomes changes to small business rates


Plans to automatically apply the small business rate could lead to lower bills for up to half a million firms, experts have said.


The Government has announced a range of measures to help small businesses in England, including ending the legal requirement for ratepayers to fill in an application form to claim small business rate relief.


The changes form part of a new Localism Bill, which was recently announced by the Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.


In a statement, the Government said that Councils will be free to administer small business rate relief in a way that best serves local businesses and local needs. It added that secondary legislation will also be amended to ensure that all eligible businesses automatically have their discounted bills calculated using the small business multiplier.


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which has been campaigning for rate relief to be made automatic, has welcomed the move.


‘After rent and wages, rates are the biggest cost to many businesses and steps to help small firms automatically get the relief they are entitled to is welcome news. We have long been calling for small business rate relief to be made automatic and this cash injection will be of great help to many small businesses,’ said the FSB’s National Chairman, John Walker.


He continued: ‘We have developed excellent relations with councils across the country through our small business engagement accord and we will be urging them to use their new powers to ensure that all small businesses receive the relief that they are entitled to.’


The full announcement from the Department for Communities and Local Government can be found at