Wyre Forest District Council has published its proposals for financial help to local businesses affected by the business rates revaluation which took effect on 1 April.

The Budget on 8 March announced that councils would be given money over the next four years and would be asked to design local schemes of support for businesses most affected by the revaluation. The funding was confirmed on 21 April and now the Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve a local scheme for Wyre Forest at its meeting on 23 May.

The main eligibility criteria are that businesses must have a rateable value between £15,000 and £200,000, not be part of a national chain and be facing an increase in bills as a result of the revaluation. The Council’s scheme will provide financial support automatically – applications will not be required. In 2017-18 the support will cover 85% of the increase that a business is facing, providing substantial shielding from the effects of the revaluation. The level of support in the two following years is expected to be 40-45% in 2018-19 and 20-25% in 2019-20, with the precise amount to be decided nearer the time.

Councillor Nathan Desmond, the Cabinet Member for Resources, said:

“I believe that the scheme we have developed for Wyre Forest directs help where it is most needed, to support small and medium-sized local businesses rather than national chains. We have acted quickly following confirmation of the funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government, and I am delighted that our scheme minimises bureaucracy as it requires no applications from businesses.

“I shall be asking Cabinet colleagues to approve the scheme at our meeting on 23 May. Council staff  will then automatically  send out amended bills for eligible businesses, delivering help quickly following the significant increases that they face following the revaluation.”