We Asked, You Said, We Did
We asked you for your views on the draft scheme and whether you felt that the criteria in the relief were correct.
Most responses were supportive recognising that there needed to be exclusions. There was some criticism that the Healthier catering Commitment requirement was prohibitive, and not in the spirit of the funding grant. The council was asked to commit to supporting small and micro businesses, and to distribute the funds as quickly as possible to alleviate any hardship. 14 comments related to the list of business types that are being supported, and whilst not on the exclusion list did not know how they would benefit – such as Sports clubs, pharmacies, dental, podiatry, education, healthcare, workshops for artisans; 7 comments were made which were statements relating to business rates generally (charities, liability, high cost, Brexit) and not subject to the consultation matter;
The responses received were used to amend the qualifying criteria, but the % awards remained unchanged. The list of properties included were removed, and only excluded categories were left in the scheme – this made it much clearer. A restriction to the number of properties, was changed from 3 or more to be changed to 4 or more. Where there are arrears outstanding, that this be simplified to ‘ratepayers who are in arrears and have not made an arrangement for payment with the council. Financial modelling the awards has resulted in some ratepayers receiving less than £2 per annum. It is proposed that where the award is less than £50 that the award be rounded up to £50. This added less than £3000 to the overall forecast award. Clarification of how any underspend will be allocated to businesses in revaluation hardship is also included.
That the condition of meeting the Healthier Catering Commitment, remains in the policy, but that we have softened the requirement such that the relevant establishments demonstrate that they are working towards the accreditation. The final scheme is published on the council’s website at https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/business/business-rates/revaluation-support-scheme.html
This consultation has now closed.