The Government introduced a scheme in April this year to enable smaller businesses to pay lower rates by charging larger businesses more. Small businesses are required to claim the relief while larger businesses are automatically charged the excess. Many small businesses are failing to claim leaving one clear winner. Cool move Mr Brown!
More than a fifth of businesses across England have not applied for a reduction in their business rate bills even though they are entitled to do so according to new research by the FSB.
The FSB asked more than a thousand of its members that should be benefiting from rate relief: "Have you or do you intend to apply for small business rate relief?" 15% of retailers, 23% of manufacturers and 27% of construction businesses said no.
The FSB, which has been running a major awareness-raising campaign for members, fears the picture for non-members is even worse.
Roger Culcheth, FSB Local Government Spokesman said, "Small firms are losing out on millions of pounds. Their loss is the Treasury's gain because the new system of rate relief for small businesses has been financed by imposing higher bills on larger firms."
"Small businesses have to apply for the relief whereas large companies are automatically billed the higher rate. If the government is not prepared to make the relief automatic, it must do far more to make businesses aware that this money is on offer. The publicity campaign has fallen woefully short so far."
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