Posted: 05/12/2016

Farm shops get rate relief boost after government correction

Ken Parsons
RSA chief executive, Ken Parsons said rural farm shops face discrimination

The Rural Shops Alliance (RSA) has expressed its delight that the government has removed an anomaly in the business rates system that discriminated against rural farm shops.

Chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond promised in his Autumn Statement on November 23 that rural rate relief would increase from a mandatory 50% to a mandatory 100% from next April.

Currently local authorities can give an extra discretionary 50% relief to top up the 50% but many have chosen not to because of tight resources.

Businesses that qualify for rural rate relief must apply for that relief rather than another relief known as Small Business Rate Relief whereby all other retailers with a rateable value of £6,000 have been getting a mandatory 100% relief, rising to a £12,000 form next April.

Ken Parsons, RSA chief executive, said that until Hammond’s announcement, rural farm shops faced discrimination.

The Department for Communities and Local Government told FFD just days before Hammonds’ statement that it planned to address the anomaly but no one in the industry expected the chancellor to announce the move in his Autumn Statement.

Parsons said: “It’s really good that at last parliamentary time has been found to put this anomaly right.”

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