Business rates: the judgment of Solomon as just who benefits is decided by councils

Can we trust EDDC to be fair? How will we know they if are being fair or unfair. Will they publish their criteria? Will they say why they benefit one business but not another? Will they publish details of appeals?

Trust – it’s all done on trust. Oh dear.

“The government appears to have performed a weekend U-turn on business rates and says a £300m relief fund to help small businesses worst hit by the shakeup is now available for councils to share out.

On Friday the Guardian was told by the Department for Communities and Local Government that although the consultation on how to distribute the money was complete it would require the approval of the new government – signalling a hiatus of several months until after the 8 June general election.

However, speaking in the House of Commons on Monday the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, insisted there would be “absolutely no delay because of the general election”. “It’s going ahead, exactly as planned. Councils are free to start using the scheme and helping local businesses.”

The business rates revaluation triggered a furious political row in February with the government coming under fire from its own MPs over the impact of the changes in their constituencies. Many of the affected businesses are in Conservative heartlands and the pressure saw the chancellor Philip Hammond announce a £435m relief package in the budget.

Half a million shopkeepers, pubs and restaurants saw their rates bills – the commercial equivalent of council tax – increase at the start of this month after a revaluation of property hit parts of the country where prices have surged.

For example, a property boom in the Suffolk coastal town of Southwold forced rateable values up by 152%, with some shop owners saying the resulting hike in their rates bill threatened the viability of their businesses.

Rachael Maskell, the Labour MP for York Central, described the situation created by the revaluation as “totally unfair” as although more small businesses were exempt from rates in her constituency others had seen their rateable value increase by 600%. “No one knows how the new relief funds will be distributed,” she said. “Total chaos.” …

It is now up to local councils, who receive funds quarterly, to decide the local businesses that need help. Local authorities have already been developing their schemes with London’s Haringey, for example, where the rates of most high street shops have increased by 20% to 30%, considering giving preference to small, medium and independent firms.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/24/business-rates-relief-fund-sajid-javid-general-election