Oxford City Council has handed out an extra £118,000 in rate relief to 153 Oxford small businesses.
The extra rate relief comes as part of the council’s Discretionary Relief Scheme, which has already provided more than £261,000 in rate relief to 253 small businesses in 2017/18.
The Discretionary Relief Scheme is one of three government funded schemes aimed at mitigating rate increases for small businesses, following revaluation of business rateable values by the Valuation Office Agency and changes to the Small Business Rate Relief scheme last April.
In 2017/18, the Discretionary Relief Scheme agreed across Oxfordshire by the City and district councils, Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Valley Police originally offered an 8.5 percent reduction in rates to eligible businesses with a rateable value below £200,000.
As any unspent funding under the Discretionary Relief Scheme must be returned to central government, the City Council decided to award additional relief to some of the 253 businesses that had already received some help towards their rate bills. The council has written to the 153 businesses it has identified to notify them of the additional award.
Under EU rules, businesses are eligible for the extra relief as long as they have not received over €200,000 in business rate relief and other state aid in the last three years.
Councillor Ed Turner, Deputy Leader of the Council and Board Member for Finance and Asset Management, said: “I’m pleased that we are able to offer Oxford’s small businesses an extra £118,000 in business rate relief this year. If we don’t spend it, money in the Discretionary Relief Fund must be returned to central government. Small businesses are vital to Oxford’s economy, and we decided to give this rate relief to those businesses which would otherwise have faced the biggest rate rises this year.”