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November/December 2019
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Executive Hire News › Archives › November/December 2019 › Executive Report : Get some relief

Executive Report : Get some relief

Tool hire businesses might be missing out on a rates relief scheme designed to help small companies.

A news item in our March 2019 issue drew readers’ attention to a central government backed scheme which was intended to give business rates relief, not only to many retailers, but also to tool hire companies. Called Retail Rates Relief, it was primarily intended to assist high street retailers facing stiff competition from online sellers. Unlike some other reliefs, however, you did not have to have seen any increase in your rates payable to qualify.

The scheme gives companies one third off the rates payable for the financial years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, providing the premises occupied have a rateable value (RV) under £51,000.

Our article drew on information provided by Ian Sloan of chartered surveyors Bankier Sloan. He says that, since publication, he knows of a number of tool hirers who have indeed benefited but, in some cases local authorities have been very reluctant to give the relief, believing incorrectly that the scheme was intended to only assist retailers.

Tool hire eligible

"In addition to the traditional retail premises, the government’s guidelines include a list of ‘services’ that are eligible to claim, and under clause 11 one of these is Tool Hire,” he told EHN. “Local authorities in some cases do not understand the legislation and I would encourage any tool hire operators who may have had an application for relief turned down to re-apply. 

“This is a discretionary relief in legal terms, so the implementation of the scheme locally will have needed to be approved at committee by every council. However, we know of not a single local council that has failed to implement this new scheme. It is funded by central government and all local councils have also been given funding to implement it.”

A tool hire business with more than one property can claim on each one, providing each has an RV below £51,000, and the savings can be considerable. EHN knows of one hirer in the north-west of England with an RV of just over £42,000 that has recovered just less than £7,000 this financial year and which will receive the same discount next year. In another example, an Oxfordshire-based multi-site operator has received over £5,500 this year on one of its properties, although another has an RV over the £51,000 threshold.

Feedback invited

EHN would be interested to hear from any readers who have been refused relief. We would also like to receive your feedback on whether your local council gave this automatically or needed reminding that this scheme was intended to assist small businesses in their areas.

Ian Sloan points out that, although many tool hirers’ premises are located close to town centres, many are situated on industrial estates and the business may wrongly believe they are not eligible. He says that, from what his company has heard, some local councils have made the same error and he would be happy to provide advice on the situation to any reader who contacts him. 

He adds, “To any EHN readers who operate from premises with an RV of less than £15,000 and are already receiving some relief under the long-established Small Business Rates Relief Scheme, I stress that businesses can receive the new Retail Rates Relief in addition to their existing relief. For any business operating from a single property with an RV of, say, £13,500 and which may now be paying £3,330 per year, an additional £1,100 (33.33 %) discount is available.” •

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