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Business rates hike: Have your say on how Hackney Council should distribute £7.1m discretionary fund

PUBLISHED: 13:14 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:14 05 September 2017

Guy Nicholson. Picture: Gus Campbell Photography

Guy Nicholson. Picture: Gus Campbell Photography

Archant

Hackney Council has launched a consultation on how to distribute a £7.1 million fund allocated for local businesses struggling to pay the hike in business rates.

In April rates were revaluated based on property prices, which have more than doubled in parts of London.

According to the council, thousands of businesses in Hackney have been hit with an average rateable value increase of 46pc - the largest in London and five times the England average.

The council is now working out which businesses to help out with its share of a £300m discretionary relief scheme, with £4.1m available in 2017/18.

It has proposed assist the most severely affected small and medium businesses, excluding betting shops, payday lenders, national and multi-national chain stores, as well as empty properties.

Funding will only be provided to ratepayers whose 2017/18 rateable value is £200,000 or less, and whose 2017/18 business rates bill, after exemptions and other relief, increased by 12.5pc or more.

It is anticipated that 2,200 businesses may qualify for support.

The council’s business chief, Cllr Guy Nicholson, said: “Government has taken an extraordinary long time to instruct councils to start offering support through the discretionary relief fund.

“Now the council has the information it is important to make sure that the most appropriate scheme for Hackney is designed and implemented as soon as possible.

“The council’s priority is to support the small and medium businesses which are at the heart of Hackney’s diverse communities and make up the boroughs unique character. Whether it be the established family firms or innovative start-ups, the funding is proposed to be focused on the enterprises which create Hackney’s thriving and vibrant high streets and business clusters.”

He continued: “Though this extra funding, and the other support measures announced by the Chancellor, is welcome it is not enough and we know that many businesses will still face difficult months and years ahead trying to cope with the government’s hikes.”

To view the consultation which ends September 26, visit hackney.gov.uk/businessrates.

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