Hundreds of smaller businesses in Hartlepool will be benefit from a new retail rate relief scheme funded by the Government.
The one third discount on the tax they pay to the local authority for two years results from an announcement in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget last year.
It applies to retail outlets with a rateable value of £51,000 or less and there are around 280 properties which will be eligible for it in the town.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee confirmed its implementation, which will provide additional relief of up to £837,000 in 2019/20.
Businesses that can benefit include shops, petrol stations, garden centres, art galleries, hairdressers, travel agents, laundrettes, funeral directors, restaurants, bars and more.
Coun Kevin Cranney praised the new business rates retail discount scheme and said it is a positive move for the town’s retail sector, although more still needs to be done.
The chairman of the council’s regeneration services committee said: “This is a good step to try and revive and safeguard our retail sector.
“I think there’s a lot more that can be done and should be done, in particularly to help larger retailers who are struggling.
“I must commend the staff for the proactive work that they’re doing and contacting the smaller businesses and ensuring they’re getting the full entitlement and that’s a good step.
“I know that as a council we are trying our utmost to support the growth and expansion of our businesses and this is another step in the right direction.”
The scheme will be fully funded by the Government and will be in place for 2019/20 and 2020/21.
Council bosses also urged small business in the area to make the most of other funding available to them.
The small business rates relief scheme has been in operation for a number of years and the most recent details collected in 2018 show that 94.8% of eligible businesses in Hartlepool are currently receiving the full funding.
Council chiefs said ongoing engagement is continuing with the 68 businesses that are not currently receiving the full funds available to them.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service