ACS Welcomes Clarification of Rural Rate Relief Allocation

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed a letter published by the Department of Communities and Local Government, clarifying the allocation of rural rate relief in the coming year.

The 2016 Autumn Statement confirmed the doubling of rural rate relief available to eligible businesses from 50% to 100%. The Government had intended to amend primary legislation to require local authorities to grant 100% mandatory rural rate relief.

The letter states: ‘Following the decision not to reintroduce the Local Government Finance Bill, for 2018/19 we expect local authorities to continue to use their local discount powers to grant 100% rural rate relief to eligible ratepayers, as they have done so for 2017/18. Local authorities will be compensated in full for their loss of income as a result of this change.’

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome this important clarification which ensures that eligible rural businesses will continue to receive 100% rate relief through the next year. There are over 19,000 rural shops operating in the UK, many of which will benefit from this relief.

“Rural shops play an essential role in otherwise isolated communities, providing goods and services that local customers would have to travel long distances to find elsewhere. While some rural businesses will benefit from this relief, some larger rural stores, those with ATMs and rural forecourts will be subject to the 3.9% business rates increase in April, and we urge the Government to take action in the Budget to ensure that the impact on these businesses is mitigated.”

Earlier this year, ACS called on the Government to increase the rateable value threshold for rural petrol stations so that they are able to benefit from the rural business rate relief scheme if they are beyond £12,500 rateable value.

The 2017 Rural Shop Report can be found here:

This entry was posted by Chris on Fri, 27/10/2017 - 11:56