Council agrees second year of rate relief to support small businesses

Published: Thursday, 24th May 2018

Oxford City Council has agreed the terms of its Revaluation Discretionary Relief Scheme for 2018.

The scheme is designed to support local businesses that would otherwise face large increases to their business rates this year as a result of the 2017 revaluation.

The 2017 revaluation of business rateable values by the Valuation Office Agency meant some businesses faced big rises in their rates from April 2017. The Government has allocated £300 million to councils nationally over four years to help those businesses facing the biggest increases. 

This is the second year of this relief scheme, which will run for four years. But central government funding is greatly reduced each year. In 2018/19, the scheme will offer an eight per cent reduction in rates to qualifying businesses.  This is expected to save local businesses around £224,000.  The relief will be applied automatically and revised bills will be sent over the next few weeks. 

Other reliefs announced in the 2017 Spring Budget continue to be awarded. The Public House Relief Scheme has also been extended for an additional year and a rate relief of up to £1,000 has been awarded to 76 public houses across the city that qualified.

The Supporting Small Business Relief has already been awarded to businesses and places a cap on business rate increases each year between 2017 and 2022. For 2018/19, the increase in business rates for qualifying small businesses will be limited to £1,200 or 7.5 per cent plus inflation, whichever is the greater.

Councillor Ed Turner, Oxford City Council Board Member for Finance and Asset Management, said: "These are difficult times for many businesses and the changes to business rateable values last year haven't made things any easier. So we really want to make sure that local firms get access to the support to which they are entitled, and continue to contribute to a thriving local economy."

For more details of this, and other rate relief schemes, visit the rate relief page.