Pubs are missing out on their share in a £100m small business rates relief windfall because local councils are failing to provide up-to-date advice, a report has found.
The report, by Oxfordshire-based Chartered Surveyors Bankier Sloan, estimates that the average refund available to small businesses that have not claimed under the scheme since 2010 is in excess of £6,000 per business.
Although the scheme was updated in October 2010 to allow the smallest companies to obtain 100% rates relief on premises with rateable values below £6,000, the report revealed that the majority of council websites promoting the scheme were still publishing the previous entitlement of 50%.
In addition to the 100% relief, the report also highlighted that there are substantial refunds available for business with rateable values up to £12,000.
Chartered surveyor Ian Sloan, who headed the team carrying out the research, said the information available on most council websites is historic and inaccurate and, as a result, many small businesses will fail to appreciate the extent of the refunds available to them.
Sloan said: “We are sure in every local authority area in England there will be at least 100 companies eligible to take advantage of this scheme, but have not yet done so. On this basis, we calculate central government has more than £100m available set aside to support small businesses”.
He added: “Although some councils have updated their websites since Bankier Sloan’s initial report on this subject in November 2013, some councils are still promoting the 2008 scheme, and the majority are quoting the April 2010 scheme.”
Sloan reminded licensees that as from 1 April, small shops and pubs will benefit from an additional £1,000 relief.
“It is important that councils spend the next month updating their websites so that when small businesses are notified of the changes and seek information on-line, the details of the existing relief available to businesses are correct.”
The scheme, aimed at supporting small businesses, is totally funded by Government but is operated by local councils.