Rate relief plans should go further

By James Garner

GOVERNMENT plans to give financial help to businesses affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis fall way short of what is needed.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says that only very small businesses with rateable returns less than 12,000 will benefit from rate relief.

A business also has to fall within the designated 118 specified rural authorities.

Auction marts and abattoirs were used by the RICS as examples.

There are 248 abattoirs and auction markets in England, 84 of which are in non-rural locations and will not benefit at all.

A further 90 are excluded as their rateable values are 12,000 or higher, leaving just 74 abattoirs and auction markets as potential winners.

Jerry Schurder, chairman of RICS rating and local taxation panel, says the government could have gone further.

Mr Schurder says there is no evidence that bigger businesses will be less affected by the disease.

Under government aid businesses affected by foot-and-mouth can apply to their local authority for rates relief, worth 1290 for a three-month period.

The local authority would normally fund 25% of relief, the government the rest.

Under emergency measures, government will fund an extra 20% for three months, leaving local authorities the remaining 5%.

Extra government support should result in more applications being considered favourably by local authorities.

Businesses not included in the governments plans can make an appeal to the local authorities valuation officer to challenge the rateable value of their property.

See more