Hundreds of retail businesses in Calderdale could get a third off their rates.
Operated locally with cash reimbursed by Government, it aims to help retailers through some difficult times when shopping habits are changing, for example more people buying goods online.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet heard the Discretionary Retail Discount Scheme would cost the council £1.84 million if provided in 2019-20, but the council can claim the money back back from central Government.
Members were told they had to make a decision quickly if local businesses were to benefit from the scheme in the next council year, as it had to be in place by the time rates bills were sent out.
A similar scheme which ran between 2014 and 2016 restricted relief to a maximum of £1,000 in year one and £1,500 in year two, but this time relief will be a third off the bill.
The briefing paper to councillors said: “The levels of rate bills having to be paid by local businesses can be significantly reduced at a time when changing consumer behaviour presents a significant challenge for retailers in town centres. For example, a net rates bill of £12,000 could be reduced to £8,000 under the scheme.”
Cabinet member for Resources, Performance and Business Change, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said: “The chancellor announced in his autumn budget that this scheme could be put in place to help small and medium-sized businesses. There are some grey areas – some businesses are not eligible and there are others that might be eligible,” she said.
Councillors approved the scheme, noted non-qualifying business uses and approved an appeals framework for it.