The government is set to expose local authorities that have not distributed business rate relief funds to small businesses.
From 3 October ministers will publish a list of councils that have rebilled the government for the relief schemes announced in this year’s Budget.
The packages include a £300m discretionary fund for councils to distribute over four years to small businesses facing higher rates bills, and a £110m fund to cap rate rises at £50 a month for small businesses losing rate relief.
A third scheme gives a £1,000 discount to all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000.
In a House of Commons statement last week, local government minister Marcus Jones criticised councils for not providing relief fast enough.
“Despite various examples of good practice, the pace of providing relief to ratepayers has not been acceptable,” he said.
“I have written today to those authorities that have not fully implemented all three schemes asking them to rebill businesses that are set to benefit from relief as soon as possible.”
He praised some local authorities for having already awarded relief, including Westminster, Leeds, South Norfolk and Rutland councils.
“For example, Leeds City Council has provided over £1.5m in relief to over 3,600 ratepayers, including 50% discounts on bill increases to 3,300 small and medium sized ratepayers under their discretionary scheme,” Jones said.
But Jeeta Bhadal, owner of a One Stop franchise in Woodhouse, Leeds, said he had not received rate relief because the council had not advertised the options. His rates bill increased from £18,500 to £21,000 this year.
“We phoned up at the time to protest, but the process to appeal was so long-winded and bureaucratic. They didn’t make it simple. But now I’ll get on the case again.”