Stockton's Infinity Bridge

FSB and ANEC Join Forces to Press Case to Continue Support for Small Businesses

24 October 2013

A joint letter of support for the continuation of the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme has been sent to the Government by the Federation of Small Businesses and the Association of North East Councils.

Both organisations highlight the importance of the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme in helping to maintain the financial viability of small businesses in localities across the North East and in support of collective efforts to support economic growth and recovery.

Over the past five years, since the economic recession, the FSB, ANEC and individual councils have proactively promoted the SBRR scheme to maximise the opportunity for small businesses to benefit, with millions of pounds going back into local economies.

The cost of business rates is one of the biggest barriers to small businesses in the North East.  As the rent per square metre for small premises is much higher than for large premises and the rateable value is related to the notional rental value, small businesses occupying small premises have much higher rates bills proportionately expressed as a percentage of turnover, overheads or profit.  As a percentage of turnover small businesses' rates bill can be three times greater than that for larger businesses.

There is concern, therefore, that the SBRR is due to end on 31 March 2014, at a time when in spite of all the strengths and assets of the North East, the economy remains fragile.  The FSB and ANEC are asking the Government to extend the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme and to continue to support billing local authorities financially with the Section 31 Grant Scheme.  By taking action, North East businesses that are eligible ratepayers with a property below £6,000 rateable value would benefit from being exempt from paying rates and those with a rateable value between £6,000 and £11,000 will benefit from a sliding scale.
Speaking about the joint representation to the Government, Ted Salmon, North East Regional Chairman of the FSB said:

"The continued rise of business rates is one of the biggest costs small businesses in the North East face. By extending the Small Business Rate Relief scheme beyond 2014 the Government will give more small business across the region the confidence to invest in new projects or take on new staff."

Cllr Paul Watson, Chair of ANEC said,

"Councils across the North East, working with private sector partners, are committed to doing everything they can to create the conditions necessary for businesses to invest and grow, promote enterprise, investment and skills in order to create and sustain jobs, so the continuation of the Small Business Rate Relief scheme is a very important issue".